Like many life coaches and mentors, our case study life coach was approached by a client who suffered with lack of confidence. This client, with wishes to set up her own business, enlisted the services of a life coach to help her overcome mental barriers and fears. The client felt that with professional coaching she’d become more outgoing and able to deal more successfully with being the public face of the business that she was planning to set up.
The life coach engaged with the client on a number of levels. Part of his services included motivational advice and support as well as helping the client to define her business goals and strategy for the launch and marketing of the business.
What to expect from a life coach?
The client went ahead and set up her business. She pursued the business tragedy and marketing activities as discussed with the life coach, appeared regularly in public speaking roles but unfortunately her business didn’t take off and she was forced to wind her business down with a financial loss.
A failure is hard to accept for most of us and the tendency is therefore to look to offload the responsibility onto someone else. The client blamed her life coach. Her expectations were that her time with the life coach would guarantee her business success. And when that didn’t materialise she refused to accept her part and decided to recover her losses from the life coach claiming the outcomes of her sessions hadn’t delivered the promised results and that was why her business failed.
The legal threats to life coaches and mentors
Part of the client’s claim was for the entire cost of some 2 years of sessions with the life coach but it also extended to the financial loss suffered as a result of the business closure. Her claim against the life coach was based on professional negligence and misleading promotion of his services.
This claim ended in the court of law. The judge ruled in the life coach’s favour and dismissed the professional negligence claim on the basis that the life coach was able to demonstrate that he’d provided the contracted services. It was recognised by the court that there were a number of contributing factors leading to the failure of the client’s business and it wasn’t possible to tangibly apportion any blame to the life coach.
The role of insurance for life coaches
On this occasion thanks to having fitting professional indemnity insurance for life coaches in place the legal team appointed by the insurers rebuffed the client’s accusations and avoided any liability to refund professional fees or pay any compensation. However, the defence of the life coach case ran into well over £20,000. That is a significant cost to any life coach or mentor. In comparison the cost of professional indemnity cover is circa £150 a year.