Are you worried about being sued by a coaching client and potentially losing your personal assets? Are you concerned your coaching materials may be copied or used by your clients or other coaches? Are you looking for a simple way to ‘sort out’ all the legal stuff so you can spend more time coaching?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the ‘Legal Package for Coaches and Mentors’ is for you.
This legal package has been written specifically for Life Coaches, Executive Coaches, Business Coaches and Mentors. It will ensure you meet your legal obligations, protect you from being successfully sued and show you’re running a professional coaching business.
The rest of this article explains the legal issues Coaches and Mentors need to be aware of and how best to manage them.
Top 5 legal issues faced by Life Coaches, Executive Coaches, Business Coaches and Mentors
As a Life Coach, Executive Coach, Business Coach or Mentor you need to pay particular attention to these Top 5 legal issues:
- Being liable for the advice you give: As a Coach or Mentor you are vulnerable to claims for the information and advice you give. Clients may rely on your advice and suffer financial loss, emotional distress, adverse health effects, etc. and try to claim you are responsible.
- Clarity with your clients about your services: Misunderstandings between you and your clients can easily arise. Areas for potential disagreements or disputes include: exactly what you are delivering, client expectations and actual results.
- Limiting your liability in the event you are sued: In the unfortunate event one of your clients lodges a successful claim against you, you need to be able to mitigate the damage and limit your liability.
- Protecting your IP and coaching materials: If you’ve spent time developing your coaching materials and intellectual property, you need to protect them from being copied or used by your clients or other coaches.
- Collecting personal or confidential information: It’s likely you will collect personal information about your prospects and clients, which means you will have to comply with Australian Privacy law.
You need to have a Coaching Services Agreement with your clients
As a Coach or Mentor, this is the most important document you need. A Coaching Services Agreement should be tailored to your specific client, detailing the services you are providing and be signed by them. A well written Agreement will not only provide legal protection, it will improve your relationship with your client by managing their expectations.
Your Coaching Services Agreement should include clauses that cover:
- Detailed description of the services you are providing
- Payment schedule and term of agreement
- Intellectual property protection
- Confidentiality and privacy of personal information
- Termination, cancellation and refunds
- Dispute resolution
- Limitation of liability and indemnity
- Governing law
You must post these 3 important Legal Notices on your website
Your website is the perfect place to promote and advertise your services. It’s also the place you need to notify visitors of your website rules and to explain the Terms under which you do business. Your website needs to include these 3 notices:
- Website Disclaimer: Protects you from claims by website visitors for relying on information on your site and incurring losses. Additionally, you must include a copyright notice to protect your Intellectual Property.
- Terms & Conditions: To clarify service expectations with potential clients, show you comply with the latest Australian Consumer Law, protect you from frivolous lawsuits and show you’re a Professional organization.
You should get users to “actively” agree to your Terms & Conditions
To get extra protection, you can have users of your materials “actively” agree to your Terms. For example, if you have free (or paid) eBooks or courses available on your website, get users to tick a checkbox agreeing to your Terms. In general, there are 3 options for checkbox placement:
- A checkbox with link saying “I agree” or “I have read” the Terms & Conditions next to your “Download” or “Add to Cart” link
- A popup window or page during the download or checkout process where a user can read and agree to your Terms
- Terms & Conditions that need to be agreed upon before entering your website
And you don’t need insurance, but …
Another option for protecting your business and personal assets is to buy professional indemnity/liability insurance. However, it’s difficult to find specialist insurance policies that properly cover Coaches and Mentors in Australia, or Australian policies that cover overseas clients. Insurance policies can also be expensive and very difficult to collect from. If you do choose to buy insurance, make sure you read the terms carefully.
Your best protection comes from: using a well-drafted Coaching Service Agreement, having robust Terms & Conditions on your website and operating as a ‘Pty Ltd’ company. A ‘Pty Ltd’ company limits your personal liability and any claims to the assets of the company. It may also be less expensive than maintaining professional indemnity/liability insurance.
In our package we recommend the best, most affordable way to set up your Australian ‘Pty Ltd’ company online and protect your brand – quickly and easily. Here are details of the Legal123 package: