Contracts: What’s In YOUR Agreement?

Many coaches ask each client to sign an agreement before launching their coaching journey. In this document, most at least cover the basics: frequency and duration of sessions, as well as the negotiated fee for services.

But just as often, coaches get caught in thorny situations that could have been avoided, had they spelled out some clear policies.

For example, consider the following:

  • How often are you willing to be contacted for “tune-ups” between scheduled calls?
  • Do you prefer to be contacted between sessions by phone, email, or some other means?
  • How late can a client be before you consider a session “missed?” Will you allow them to make up a missed session? If so, for how long?

These and other “sticking points” have the potential to become full-blown problems, if they aren’t addressed in advance. And if they’ve yet to come up between you and your clients, chances are, it’s only a matter of time!

Here are some ideas to help you create an agreement that “covers your bases:”

  1. Make a list of potentially difficult or awkward logistical situations you’d like your agreement to address:
    • Think through your own experience and make note of preventable situations that have surfaced between you and your clients
    • Brainstorm potentially difficult or awkward scenarios you imagine could happen
    • Consult colleagues to see what issues have come up for them
  2. Get clear on your position for each issue on your list
  3. Put your policies in writing (create your agreement)
  4. Get your client to send you a signed and dated copy of your agreement before your first session
  5. Attach your signature and return a mutually-signed copy of that agreement to the client

With a little forethought, many coach-client predicaments can be avoided. That said, it’s tempting to assume what hasn’t happened yet won’t happen down the road. Being clear from the outset often means the difference between a dissatisfied (or even lost) client and a harmonious coach-client partnership.

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