Establishing The Coaching Agreement: The ICF Competency No. Two

Most ICF Credentialed Coaches do believe that establishing the coaching agreement is critical to the success of the coaching process.   The coaching agreement or contract sets the atmosphere in a coaching relationship. 

What Does The ICF Say About The Coaching Agreement? 

The International Coach Federation (ICF) developed eleven core competencies to support a greater understanding of the skills and approaches used within today’s coaching profession.  Establishing the coaching agreement is the second core competency that is placed under the “Setting the Foundation” category.  The competencies are grouped into four categories.

As defined by the ICF,

Establishing the Coaching Agreement— is the ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to an agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship.

Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (e.g., logistics, fees, scheduling, the inclusion of others if appropriate).

Reaches agreement about what is relevant in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client’s and coach’s responsibilities.

Determines whether there is an effective match between his/her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client.

Having a coaching agreement in place helps the coaching process stay on course, and it helps establish the ground rules for the coaching relationship. Also, you want to ensure that you are safeguarded from any liabilities or issues that may occur. 

Establishing The Coaching Agreement: What Should it Comprise of? 

A coaching agreement enables both the client and the coach to come to a mutual understanding of the expectations of the coaching relationship.  The following are what should be included in a coaching contract. 

  • Contact information for both coach and client – i.e., name, phone number, email address, etc.
  • Information that states and emphasizes your role as a coach;  Make clear that you are not a therapist or any other professional.
  • Payment policy – Information on payments ( refunds, credits, additional charges).
  • Coaching process – Information on the set length and schedules of coaching sessions (e.g., two sessions weekly for three months) and mutual agreement of location of coaching sessions. 
  • Coaching approach (tone, etiquette, methods, techniques)
  • Confidentiality (data protection) and understanding of what needs to be disclosed by law to the proper authorities. (i.e., child or elderly abuse situations). 
  • Client’s expectations and coaching objectives.
  • Clear information on the type of services offered.
  • Indemnity, i.e., potential legal actions – protecting yourself and business.
  • Rescheduling of sessions and cancellation
  • Disclaimer that states client is responsible for the outcomes by implementing the recommendations and steps from the coaching
  • Termination policy – set the terms for when coaching relationship should end. 
  • Signature and initials of coaching client 

Establishing the coaching agreement is a binding contract that is necessary for your coaching practice.  It is vital to ensure that before you enter into a coaching relationship with a client (coachee), you must have an agreement in place to protect both you, your business, and your clients. 

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Margaret K. Olubiyi
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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