The Art of Referralback
- Language is key. Avoid the word “therapist.” Inherent in that word is the implication that your client has a diagnosable condition. That is probably not the case. If you are concerned that your client has a mental illness, you should get a consultation before you refer. Use “coach” or “human behavior consultant.” These are more palatable.
- Avoid saying, “I think you need…” Inherent in that phrase, again, is the suggestion that something is wrong with your client. A better phrase would be, “You’re the kind of person (bright, curious, and motivated) who might benefit from a coach or a behavioral consultant.
- Talk about the potential benefits. If you are referring an individual for coaching you might reference peak performance or improved leadership skills. If you are suggesting the involvement in a family or business system you might emphasize increased effectiveness or productivity; or better communication or conflict resolution systems.
- Talk about building on their already sturdy foundation. Introduce thinking about the possibility that they could achieve even greater effectiveness; satisfaction; and meaning at work and home.
- Become comfortable yourself with the awareness that individual or systemic transformation often involves complex psychological issues, issues in which you may not be educated or skilled.
Be prepared to tell a story of someone that you know (they don’t need names) that had the benefit of a coach. Describe the positive impact on their life. Express confidence in the process and in the professional referral.