First things first, what is a multidisciplinary team?
A multidisciplinary team is a team composed of various professionals who work together to ensure the success of a client/patient.
Coaches are positioned to solve some of the most important health problems in the world.
But that doesn’t mean coaches can or even should try to solve every problem.
Physicians, dietitians, PTs, etc., all have their roles to play because no single profession can solve every problem.
All of this makes sense and seems obvious.
What’s less obvious is; how.
How does a coach get on a multidisciplinary team? If you’re a coach, you likely don’t have physicians lining up at your door to pick your brain and buy you a cup of coffee.
If we want to answer the “how” question, we first need to answer why medical professionals aren’t seeking out fitness professionals to help their clients.
The healthcare industry has been buckling under its own weight for decades.
Every single year there are fewer physicians, more bureaucracy, and more patients with chronic diseases. That makes it seem like healthcare professionals either don’t care about the benefits of fitness for their patients or are willfully steering them away from fitness to increase their bottom line.
Fortunately, neither of those assessments are accurate.
Healthcare professionals understand how valuable fitness and lifestyle changes could be for their patients.
The problem is that there isn’t a reliable source for trustworthy fitness professionals who are qualified to work with their patients who likely have comorbidities.
Healthcare professionals aren’t willing to risk the safety of their patients or their reputations on a fitness professional with dubious credentials whom they don’t know.
If you, as a fitness professional, want a place at the table, you need to make it for yourself by bringing a damn good recipe and an appetizer to share.
In practical terms, that means you need to bring irrefutable proof of your capability.
The best way to do that is through case studies, preferably of clients who are also patients or former patients of the healthcare professional you want to work with.
For example, if you worked with Tina because she had knee pain and was trying to get off her diabetes medication and Tina was also a patient of a local physician, you’d create a case study of her success, with her permission, of course.
Your approach could look something like this;
Schedule an appointment AS A PATIENT with the physician to determine if their approach aligns with yours. Get to know them. Ask questions about their process and tell them about yours.
Follow up later via phone or email and share your case study with them. What can make this even more powerful is if Tina is willing to suggest to the physician to meet with you later because of her success.
In the subsequent meeting, be prepared to determine what the physician needs and what you can do for them.
If you lead with, ”This is why you should support me,” you’ll be dead in the water having confirmed all their suspicions of what it might be like to work with “coach.”
Your goal is to obviate why working with you and allowing you to help their patients would make their lives easier.
Remember how we talked about the healthcare system buckling under its own weight?
You can relieve some of that pressure.
It also doesn’t hurt that if you crush it with a group of healthcare professionals' patients, you’ll make them look good.
You want that.
Instead of trying to ride the coattails of their credentials, you want to allow them to ride on your reputation, and to be honest, neither the fitness industry nor the healthcare industry can do this alone.
If we want to give our clients the best chance of success, we need to give them access to the professionals we can work with to make their success nearly a forgone conclusion.
The only viable way forward is together.