The coaching agreement is a contract which sets the tone in a coaching relationship. Every coach-client relationship is different however no matter if you’re a life or business coach who is looking to set up a contract.
A coaching agreement assists both the coachee and the coach to come to a common understanding of the prospects in their journey together. As a coach, a signed and written coaching agreement may assist with getting you out of uncomfortable situations with your clients.
Coaching is a client-centric as well as a client-driven process in which the coach is more of a value-addition partner. This is a fundamental rule of engagement in coaching and needs to underpin any coaching agreements. However, maintaining professional objectivity in what is frequently an intimate relationship that is not the simplest thing in the world.
Many coaches usually don’t establish the relationship on a business level, at any rate not from the outset. Some coaches believe it to be not necessary while others just would like to avoid having an overly formal relationship.
Clauses To Include In Your Agreement
Description Of Coaching
Many clients are not familiar with coaching when they start the process. Defining an understanding of the kind of coaching offered is a helpful way to pre-set clients’ expectations for what coaching is as well as what coaching is not. Incorporating this clause into your agreement allows clarity of service to be present from the start of service.
The description of coaching clause is designed to clarify expectations, responsibilities, and boundaries for both the coach and the client. It helps to establish a foundation of trust and mutual understanding by ensuring that both parties are clear on what to expect from the coaching process. This clause also provides a level of legal protection for both parties by outlining the terms of the agreement.
The specific details included in the description of coaching clause may vary depending on the coach, the client, and the nature of the coaching relationship. However, most coaching clauses will include information on the purpose and scope of the coaching relationship, the coach’s qualifications and experience, the expectations for the client’s participation and commitment, the duration and frequency of sessions, the fees and payment terms, and the circumstances under which the coaching relationship may be terminated.
Boundaries are extremely important in the client-coach relationship for several reasons:
- Safety and trust: Boundaries provide a sense of safety and security for both the client and the coach. They help to establish clear expectations and limits around the coaching relationship, which can increase trust and confidence in the process.
- Professionalism: Setting and maintaining boundaries is a hallmark of professionalism in any helping profession, including coaching. It demonstrates a coach’s commitment to maintaining appropriate relationships with their clients and to upholding ethical standards.
- Focus: Boundaries help to keep the coaching relationship focused on the client’s needs and goals. By establishing clear parameters for communication, scheduling, and other aspects of the coaching process, the coach can ensure that their attention remains on the client’s progress and development.
- Respect: Boundaries demonstrate respect for both the coach and the client. By setting expectations and limits around the coaching relationship, the coach shows that they respect the client’s time, energy, and goals, while also establishing clear guidelines for their own role and responsibilities.
This clause in a coaching contract outlines ways in which the coach could be contacted as well as for what reasons. Clients should feel safe to divulge personal information, however at the same time be bound by the contractual parameters for contacting with their coach.
A client should have the ability to understand the kinds of services which their coach will provide. This is because:
- Clarifying Expectations: By understanding the specific services their coach will provide, clients can better understand what to expect from the coaching relationship. This can help manage expectations and ensure that both the client and coach are on the same page about the goals and outcomes of the coaching relationship.
- Choosing the Right Coach: Different coaches may specialise in different areas or offer different approaches to coaching. By understanding the specific services a coach will provide, clients can better determine whether the coach is a great fit for their needs and goals.
- Maximising the Benefits of Coaching: When clients understand the specific services their coach will provide, they can better engage with the coaching process and make the most of the experience. This can help ensure that clients get the most value out of the coaching relationship and achieve the outcomes they desire.
- Building Trust: By providing transparency and clarity about the kinds of services they offer, coaches can build trust with their clients. When clients understand what they can expect from the coaching relationship, they are more likely to feel comfortable and confident in their coach’s ability to help them achieve their goals.
This clause in a contract defines these services as well as the process in which they are offered. The client must know how the coaching will take place (for example, online).
This clause will determine the logistics of the coaching relationship, such as the frequency and duration of coaching sessions, the method of delivery (e.g., in-person, online, phone), and the fees and payment schedule.
Online coaching sessions can be appropriate in a variety of situations, and can offer many benefits for clients and coaches alike. Here are some scenarios where online coaching sessions may be appropriate:
- Geographical Constraints: Online coaching sessions can be an effective solution for clients who are located in a different geographic location than their coach, or who have difficulty traveling to in-person sessions.
- Convenience: Online coaching sessions can be more convenient for clients who have demanding schedules or other commitments, as they can be done from the comfort of their own home or office.
- Increased Flexibility: Online coaching sessions can be more flexible than in-person sessions, as they can be scheduled outside of traditional business hours or even on weekends, depending on the coach’s availability.
- Accessibility: Online coaching sessions can make coaching more accessible to clients with disabilities, who may have difficulty traveling to in-person sessions.
- Anonymity: Online coaching sessions can provide a sense of anonymity for clients who may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics or personal issues from the privacy of their own home.
It’s very important to note, however, that not all clients may be a good fit for online coaching sessions. Clients who prefer face-to-face interaction or who have difficulty communicating online may not find online coaching sessions to be as successful as in-person sessions. Additionally, certain issues may be better addressed in a face-to-face setting, such as those that involve physical or hands-on techniques.
Ultimately, the decision to use online coaching sessions should be based on a very careful assessment of the client’s needs and preferences, as well as the coach’s capabilities and expertise in delivering effective coaching online.
The conditions under which either the coach or the client can terminate the coaching relationship, including notice periods and any refund policies.
A coaching relationship can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The decision to terminate the coaching relationship can be initiated by either the coach or the client, and the terms for termination should be outlined in the coaching agreement.
Here are some common reasons why a coaching relationship might be terminated:
- Client’s Goals are Met: If the client’s goals have been met or they have achieved the desired outcomes of the coaching relationship, it may be appropriate to terminate the coaching relationship.
- Lack of Progress: If the client is not making progress towards their goals, despite the efforts of the coach and client to address the issue, it may be appropriate to terminate the coaching relationship.
- Change in Circumstances: If the client’s circumstances change, such as a new job or a move to a different location, they may no longer require coaching services and may choose to terminate the coaching relationship.
- Personal Issues: If the client experiences personal issues or conflicts that interfere with their ability to engage in the coaching process, it may be appropriate to terminate the coaching relationship.
- Ethical Concerns: If the coach or client engages in behaviour that is deemed unethical or inappropriate, the coaching relationship may need to be terminated.
It’s important to note that the decision to terminate the coaching relationship should be discussed openly and transparently between the coach and the client. The coaching agreement should outline the process for termination and any notice periods or refund policies. If either the coach or the client decides to terminate the relationship, it is important to do so respectfully and professionally, and to honour any commitments or obligations outlined in the coaching agreement.
Coaching Is Not A Replacement For Mental Health Care
Put together a clear and written understanding that coaching is not to be puzzled with or a replacement for professional mental health counselling. Determining the understanding that the coach is not functioning as a licensed mental health professional, if this is the case, offers legal protection for the coach and client. Though coaching may be therapeutic, it is fundamental that the client has the understanding that coaching is not therapy.
In addition, it is important to include information around informing the coach regarding mental health services being offered by a licensed psychologist, social worker, therapist, or counsellor. Receiving advice about working with a coach from the mental health provider is also an encouraged piece of the contract. A consent form for shared information with that mental health professional may need to be established as well.
Of course individuals don’t hire coaches in the same way that they hire accountants or other types of business professionals. While a coaching agreement remains to be a binding agreement, the nature of this relationship will probably not be a rigid one. Thus, the tone of the agreement is important.
The trick is to achieve a balance between the required legal terms and establishing the tone for the relationship. Also, it may need to be more detailed if you are working with organisations. The idea is to keep improving it with every new client until you have the absolute perfect document.
If you would like to discover more about life coaching, and even become a life coach yourself, then you need to sign up for our Life Coach Course.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should be included in a coaching agreement?
A coaching agreement typically includes the purpose of the coaching relationship, roles and responsibilities of the coach and the client, logistics of the coaching relationship, confidentiality, termination conditions, and agreement signatures.
Why is a coaching agreement important?
A coaching agreement provides structure, clarity, and accountability to the coaching relationship. It helps establish a clear understanding of expectations, creates a framework for the coaching process, and sets the stage for a successful and productive coaching relationship.
Is a coaching agreement legally binding?
A coaching agreement is a legal contract that can be enforced in court if necessary. However, the primary purpose of a coaching agreement is to establish a clear understanding of the coaching relationship and to prevent misunderstandings.
When should a coaching agreement be signed?
A coaching agreement should be signed at the beginning of the coaching relationship, before any coaching sessions take place. This ensures that both the coach and the client have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of the coaching relationship and are committed to working together.
Who is responsible for creating a coaching agreement?
A coaching agreement is typically created collaboratively between the coach and the client. As a professional coach, it is usually the coach’s responsibility to initiate the conversation about the coaching agreement and guide the process of developing the agreement.
However, the coaching agreement should be a mutually agreed upon document that outlines the terms of the coaching relationship, including the goals, expectations, roles and responsibilities, duration, fees, and other relevant details. Therefore, the client should also be actively involved in the creation of the coaching agreement, providing input and feedback on the terms and conditions to ensure that they are comfortable with and committed to the coaching process.
Ultimately, the coaching agreement serves as a foundation for the coaching relationship, setting clear expectations and boundaries for both the coach and the client.