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  • Carolyn Costin

Explanation of Coaching


A thorough and nice job of explaining eating disorder coaching from one of my CCI students in the coaching course.


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The purpose of meeting today was to share some insight with each of you as to the scope of practice of a recovery Coach, and how the role may supplement and support the clinical team.


Recovery Coaching is a relatively new addition to the world of Eating Disorder recovery, and I am very hopeful about its efficacy, as it has been shown to be very successful in addictions recovery.

The role of the recovery coach is not to replace the clinician, rather, to enhance and complement the work happening with the therapist. Our role is to work alongside the treatment team, to assist with the implementation and follow through of goals laid out by the treatment team. Recovery Coaches can assist with the day-today challenges encountered in recovery, and due to different professional standards, I may have more flexibility in their ability to do so, such as meal support, exposure and response prevention, real time text support, or virtual appointments. I provide a safe, non-judgemental space to explore recovery, and support the clients journey to recovery. Recovery coaching focuses on the “HOW” to get better, rather than the “WHY” did I get sick aspect of recovery. Delving into the past would be outside of our scope of practice, however, we may uncover topics for therapy together, and coaches are required to allow the therapeutic team to focus on underlying issues, while we support behavioural goals and implementation.

While it is not a requirement that a coach has lived experience, many coaches are recovered individuals. Through CCI, we have been carefully trained on how to share appropriate pieces of our own recovery if it will benefit the client, inspire hope, or address common challenges faced on this journey to recovery. Recovery Coaches also operate as mentors - we can model what living in recovery, or as a recovered individual, can look like. For some clients, they may never have met a recovered person, and having an example of hope can be very beneficial in maintaining motivation in their own journey.

Coaches are not able to diagnose or treat eating disorders; we are in place to support the treatment goals laid out by the clients clinician(s). Coaches focus on the “here and now”, as exploring the “why”, or underlying issues that contributed to the development of the eating disorder would be the role of a trained clinician.

Each of these pieces of treatment play their own uniquely important role, and as coaches, it is our job to support the messaging and goals laid out by other professionals. Coaches will refer to the clinical team for any comorbidity issues such as anxiety, substance abuse, anxiety or trauma, as it is outside of our scope to address these issues. One final difference is that traditional therapy typically takes place in an office setting for 60 minutes, while coaching is more flexible and could occur at any time, in a variety of settings, depending on the goals we are working on. This could include meals out, grocery shopping, between-session support and so on.

© 2020 Carolyn Costin