What is a coaching agreement?July 22, 2019
A coaching agreement sets out the ground rules and practical arrangements for your coaching sessions with your clients. This is mutually agreed between coach and client and outlines the responsibilities of both partners. It is useful in establishing a professional, ethical and businesslike relationship and parts of the agreement can be included in a legal contract if appropriate.
But can a signature on a paper ensure a fruitful coaching relationship? A signature on a written agreement is no guarantee that your client will engage with the issues around boundaries, responsibilities and accountability.
A coaching agreement is most effectively used as a tool for opening up the conversation about expectations, perceptions and commitment and practical arrangements. So, consider talking through the agreement so your client engages with the issues and thinks about some “what ifs”.
This also gives the opportunity to talk about confidentiality, ethics and duty of care. If you are paid by an organization to work with an employee, it is good to be clear on these issues, in case there is any conflict between your responsibilities towards your client and the organization. And, as the coaching progresses, if any concerns about health, safety or legality emerge, your client knows what they can expect from you.
You can also take some time to look at what you and your client will each bring to the coaching and what you will do if you are not happy with how things are going. You can also encourage your client to tell you what works and what doesn’t for them and discuss boundaries and what is important to you both as individuals. For something more dynamic you could ask your client to add their own paragraph to your written agreement which describes what they want from the coaching and commit to doing.
This gives a strong start to the coaching, a clear foundation from which to work together and encourages openness. It also makes clear whether clients will pay for sessions they miss, and how to deal with re-arranging sessions – giving both you and your clients a professional framework from which to develop a respectful and fruitful coaching relationship.
Sonia Thomas is the Editor of Coaches Plus, the online resource centre for coaches. Visit us at http://www.coachesplus.com to sign up for free coaching tools today.