Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

How Coaches Can Work in NDIS

Posted on 26-11-2020 by Melanie White


With the rapid growth of the Health and Wellness Coaching industry in 2020, and a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing after lockdown, there has been a surge in interest in coaching within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a viable work option.

At a recent Ask the Experts Session for members of Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association (HCANZA),  NDSP Plan Manager and WCA graduate Neil Cumming talked about how NDIS works and what the opportunities are for health and wellness coaches.

If you’re interested in working in the NDIS in 2021 as a Health and Wellness Coach or as a Psychosocial Recovery Coach, this article will give you some pointers on how to get started.
NDIS Structure

The government-run National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) delivers the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to people with a disability. 
The goal of the scheme is to identify needs and provide support as early as possible, to help improve their outcomes later in life. 

Individuals qualify to receive a plan via an application and planning process which helps them to establish their NDIS plan and their goals which might include pursuing goals, becoming more independent, and/or being more active in the community and at work.

Support needs are based on the individual’s circumstances and disability, their specific needs and goals. The supports chosen for the plan must be both “reasonable” and “necessary” as defined by the NDIS.
Once a plan is established, the individual needs to work with their nominated plan manager (see below) to identify the supports they need and are eligible for, to monitor their budget and engage in reviews. 

NDIS plans and budget can be managed in one of three ways: 
1. NDIA-managed, 
2. Plan Managed, or 
3. Self-managed.

Coaching in the NDIS 


Do Coaches Need to be Registered Providers in the NDIS?
A starting point for working in NDIS is to consider registering as a provider.

Do coaches need to be register providers in the NDIS? The short answer is no, but there are differences in how you can work within the NDIS based on whether you register as a provider or not.

If you register as a provider, you have scope to work with clients whose plans are managed in any of the three ways noted above – so you have access to potentially more clients.

If you decide not to register, you will only be able to work with clients who are self-managed, or some who are plan-managed if the plan manager is a registered provider.

In January 2019, NDIS stated that over 250,000 Australians were receiving support under the NDIS, and this number has grown in 2020.

Areas a Coach Can Work in NDIS
Health and Wellness Coaches can work in Core Support, which includes assistance with daily life, transport and participating socially, economically and within the community.
They can also work in Capacity Building, which involves multiple areas including support coordination (organising the providers to support the individual), improved health and wellbeing, increased daily living and other areas.
As of July 2020, Psychosocial Recovery Coaches (aka Recovery Coaches) can provide support to people with a psychosocial disability. 

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is a role that has been developed in consultation with people who have mental health issues, Mental Health Australia, and state and national governments. To work in this role, you need to have had either:
lived experience with mental health issues, or
Cert IV in Mental Health or Cert IV in Mental Health Peer support or similar, or
two years paid experience in supporting people with mental health challenges.

Psychosocial disability is a disability that can arise from a mental health issue, by improving their personal, social and emotional wellbeing while living with or recovering from a mental health condition. The individual defines ‘wellbeing’ in this case.

NDIS Coaching Pay Rates
Pay rates vary according to qualifications and role, and rates are by negotiation for all three categories of plan management.
At the time of writing, a Psychosocial Recovery Coach working in a Support Coordination role can earn $80.90 - $178.68 per hour depending on whether sessions are daytime, evening, weekends or public holidays.
A Health and Wellness Coach working in Improved Health and Wellbeing can earn upwards of $54.30 per hour, depending on whether they have additional qualifications that are recognised within the NDIS, and the level at which they are working.

Please visit the current NDIS pricing guide for more information.

What is it Like to Work with NDIS clients?
WCA Level 4 graduate Octavia Chabrier works in wellness empowerment within the NDIS. 
Octavia says “To be successful in a coaching role within the NDIS, the key is to build good rapport with Support Coordinators. I’m getting my name out there and am starting to get referrals. 
A Support Coordinator recently referred a client to me who wanted support but did not wish to work with a psychologist. The Support Coordinator described me as someone who could offer coaching, mindfulness and body work which represents a blend of my skills and qualifications. I love the fact that I can use the various tools in my toolbox to help people take simple, tangible steps toward their goals, according to each client’s unique needs.”

Summary
The NDIS offers an entry point for coaches to offer meaningful support to people in a variety of ways, and through a variety of entry points.
The first decision to make is whether to go through the provider registration process, and whether to consider further study in Cert IV Mental Health or related qualification.

As part of that, it is worth considering the type of work you might like to do and what you are qualified to do within the NDIS system, in terms of specific item numbers and pay rates.
From there, it is a matter of networking with various agencies in the system to become known, and to start working with clients.

This is a very abbreviated summary of a complex system.  

If you are interested in getting started as a coach within the NDIS and need support, we recommend reaching out to the NDIS for further information. 


References: 
NDIS, 2019. A quarter of a million Australians now benefitting from NDISNDIS website, accessed 25.11.2020.

NDIS website. Accessed 25.11.2020.

White, M. 2019. Working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme Framework. Wellness Coaching Australia website.



About the Author - Melanie White

Melanie is a wellness coach with PT and associated qualifications. With over 15 years of experience in business management and leadership, Melanie brings a wealth of experience to the table. She loves helping people germinate new business ideas and grow them into successful, profitable ventures. 

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