The coaching agreement between a client and a coach is a legal contract - it's a document that captures the terms of the coaching relationship and helps eliminate surprises. There are some that move forward with a coaching engagement with no agreement or one that is poorly drafted The following are some basic points about the coaching agreement that you should consider whether you are a coach or a client.
If You Are a Coach. As a professional life coach, executive coach, business coach or any kind of coach, you should have a coaching agreement. Not having a good agreement in place can generate business related problems and lead to clients or potential clients loosing confidence in you. The International Coach Federation has available a model coaching agreement that you can refer to. While it's not the best, it's a start and one that can be tailored to your specific needs.
If You Are a Client. If you are considering hiring a coach - first, congratulations on making this important decision to invest in you! But if the coach you work with does not produce a coaching agreement for you to review and sign, you may want to think twice before committing. The particulars of the coaching, how the sessions will be conducted, the length of the sessions, are the sessions in person, over the phone, who calls who, etc. You have a right to know this information before you get started. You and the coach should first come to a verbal agreement about this which later becomes the written and signed coaching agreement.
Protection for the Parties. The client is protected by being made aware of particular information including logistics, fees, scheduling, inclusion of others if appropriate. Additionally, the coach should include their late to appointment, cancellation and payment policies so the client understands them. The coach is protected because they can be assured that the client has read and agrees with the agreement as evidenced by their signature.
I invite you to take a good look at your coaching agreement and make sure that it meets your needs and comports with the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics. Stay tuned for more discussion about the coaching agreement in future blog notes.
Scott Howard is a professional executive coach and leadership coach focusing on human empowerment and maximizing potential.