coaching is the future-focused practice of partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes, and managing personal change.
a transformative process for personal and professional awareness, discovery and growth.
A coach is responsible for discovering, clarifying, and aligning with what the client wants to achieve; encouraging client self-discovery; eliciting client-generated solutions and strategies; and holding the clients responsible and accountable for meeting goals and creating outcomes.
In imparting helpful information, sharing anecdotal experiences, suggesting resources (including but not limited to support groups, books and specialized service providers), and offering supportiveness to our clients and students --- all of this is designed to give them more options through which to make viable decisions on their own behalf, including empowering them to cultivate an extensive resource base of which we are only a small part.
In short, we should all encourage clients and students to seek resources in addition to our coaching services. This models autonomous and empowered self-care, rather than a culture of over-dependence (upon us, or anyone). In many ways, a coach becomes a safe, informative and encouraging accountability partner for someone --- as they walk along their respective healing journey.
A Coach needs to know when the situation extends beyond the bounds of their scope of practice. If you don't know --- you may be well-intentioned, but not realize you're going beyond the boundaries of your competence.
When you are faced with something outside of your area of competence it is imperative --- to protect both your clients' well being and your professional liability --- that you take the following actions:
1. State clearly that this is outside of the scope of your practice.
In class, I will sometimes forthrightly respond to someone's question by saying, "Well, first, I need to give a disclaimer that I am not qualified to answer this question --- it falls outside of my realm of expertise. So, I can give you my personal, unprofessional "take" on it --- but, ultimately, I recommend that you consult with __[expert]__."
Sometimes, recommending they talk to an expert in the relevant field is the beginning and end of my "take" on it - lol.
2. Refer to resources.
Just a few resources include 911, 211, a psychiatrist or mental health unit, a medical physician, professional detox services, professional treatment services, a licensed therapist, domestic violence organizations, a suicide-prevention hotline, a domestic violence hotline or other types of hotlines.
- Continue to cultivate a comprehensive Resource Notebook.
I have also been known to Google for resources for someone, and impart that information to them (and to any others who may benefit) while in class. Just some of the resources I've Googled and referred in class include:
- 211 (United Way Helpline, in any US location)
- psychiatric services in a student's location
- domestic violence services in a student's location
- suicide prevention 24-hour hotlines
- domestic violence 24-hour hotlines
- other 24-hour hotlines
- Psychology Today "Find A Therapist" website
- NAMI website (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- online and other support groups
- food banks in a student's location
- shelter/home-finding/roommate-finding websites
One night, I provided a student with domestic violence resources in her area and requested that she stay in the class throughout the process of calling the shelter, completing an intake evaluation, packing some belongings and waiting for their crisis team. I would check in with her between each person's sharing (and the class also rallied around her, by sharing their experiences with turning to domestic violence resources). After she was safely with the crisis team and being transported to a secure location, she thanked us and said that just staying in the class and "checking in" at each step had helped her to follow through with the actions she needed to take to avail herself of those specialized resources.
3. Always recommend the most protective course of action.
For example, if someone suggests that they may be in a domestic violence situation, you will want to suggest that they call 911 immediately, leave the home or other location immediately, and then follow up by calling a domestic violence hotline and organizations.
- Suggest that someone call 911 in the event of any potential of danger.
- Suggest that someone leave the premises in the event of any potential of danger.
- Suggest hotlines for continuous access to specially-trained personnel.
I recently received this email (amended to protect confidentiality) from a Teacher:
[Visitor] requested a free class, but when he came to class he expressed that he had untreated schizophrenia (via private message). He asked if I could help him.
I explained that It was out of my scope of practice and expertise to treat schizophrenia and that I advised him to continue his therapy sessions with his therapist. That our program is to help self healing and he may need some guided healing sessions.
√ Great Answer
For anyone who wishes to increase their scope of practice, I highly recommend pursuing additional certifications.
1. It's prudent to recommend calling 911 as a rule, including on your Do Not Disturb or Voice Mail messaging:
I am currently in sessions or out of the office. Please leave a text and I'll respond as soon as I can. Call 911 if you have an emergency.
2. If you're not already a licensed clinician, I highly recommend that you get an additional credential to practice under which allows you to legally use the professional title of "Counselor".
One of the easiest and least expensive (5.00 total) ways to accomplish this is to become ordained through the Universalist Life Church (interfaith, non-denominational):
(a) Complete a free ordination form on this page: http://ulchq.com/ordination.htm
(b) *In the notes of the form, mention that you also will apply for a "special title"
(c) Apply for the "special title" of "counselor" for 5.00 here:
(d) under the form section "Special Titles C" choose "Counselor"
(e) Then, click "Add to Cart" and checkout
If you have any questions about this process you can contact Universalist Life Church at 209-527-8111.