Dear fitness professionals, are you inadvertently misdirecting your clients? Are you unconsciously promoting disordered eating? What we hear, think, and…
Health professionals who care deeply about their clients or patients look for professionals in other areas of practice who they can trust and to whom they can guide their clients or patients needing services beyond their scope of practice. To provide the highest level of service and care for your clients, it is critical that you develop relationships with professionals in these areas of practice and build a trusted referral network.
The following list highlights a few ways you can build relationships with your client’s current healthcare team. Not every strategy applies to every practitioner or every client relationship. It’s up to you to find out what may or may not be acceptable to your client and to her healthcare practitioner.
Open communication and trust are at the core of a solid relationship with your client, and those must be in place before you can take further action. It is ideal to obtain written, signed permission from your client before contacting her healthcare provider, since this eliminates the initial barrier for the medical professional — that of confidentiality. Though sometimes a phone call or verbal specification from your client may be enough.
Be aware that it may not always be easy to connect with a client’s healthcare practitioners. Often, it depends on a practitioner’s perception of the coach’s role in their patient’s healthcare team, their previous experiences with other coaches, and their individual schedule. For example, a practitioner with a very heavy caseload may not have time for long consultations with you.
If your client is experiencing a new injury or condition and is consequently hiring a new health professional, she can ask them about their willingness to work with your and other members of her wellness team during their first meeting. If it’s important to your client that the professionals working with her establish communication and are on the same page, this could be a determining factor to help her choose who she will hire for her care.
Developing relationships with healthcare professionals with whom you currently don’t have a connection or mutual client or patient may require a bit more work and time. Although not every strategy will apply with all healthcare practitioners, the following tips may help you build these relationships:
Once you feel that you know and trust a particular provider, begin referring your clients to them. Sending someone more clients and patients is a surefire way to strengthen your relationships.
Likewise, it is important to remember that medical professionals who witness coaches and trainers offering excellent care are more likely to refer other patients in turn. This is a symbiotic and active relationship in which all of the involved benefit — most importantly, the clients.