Establishing Clear Coaching Agreements

Jul 09, 2024


The foundation of a successful coaching relationship lies in the establishment of clear and comprehensive agreements. These agreements are not merely formalities; they are essential tools that set the stage for effective, ethical, and goal-oriented coaching interactions. A well-crafted coaching agreement ensures that both the coach and the client have a mutual understanding of the coaching process, the expectations from both sides and the specific goals they aim to achieve together.

This blog post will explore the critical components of coaching agreements, highlighting their importance in maintaining professional standards and protecting both parties involved. We will delve into the requirements set forth by the Board Certified Coach (BCC) and provide practical guidance on how to draft an agreement that aligns with these standards. Whether you are an experienced coach looking to refine your practices or a new coach seeking to establish a strong foundation, this guide will offer valuable insights into creating effective coaching agreements.

Stay tuned as we unpack the essential elements of a coaching agreement, discuss why these agreements are crucial for both coaches and clients, outline the specific inclusions recommended by the BCC, and provide a step-by-step approach to drafting a robust coaching agreement. By the end of this post, you will have a clear understanding of how to establish agreements that not only meet professional standards but also enhance the coaching experience for your clients.



What is a Coaching Agreement?


A coaching agreement is a formal document that serves as the cornerstone of the professional relationship between a coach and their client. This agreement outlines the terms, conditions, and expectations that will guide the coaching engagement. It includes details such as the objectives of the coaching relationship, the roles and responsibilities of both the coach and the client, the duration and frequency of sessions, and the financial terms, including fees and payment schedules.

At its core, a coaching agreement is designed to ensure clarity and mutual understanding between both parties. It sets the groundwork for open communication, establishes the scope of the coaching relationship, and delineates the ethical guidelines that will be followed. By defining these parameters from the outset, the coaching agreement helps prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, fostering a collaborative environment where the client can focus on their personal and professional development.

Moreover, a coaching agreement is a living document that can be revisited and revised as the coaching relationship evolves. It provides a structured framework within which both the coach and the client can work towards achieving their agreed-upon goals, ensuring that the coaching process remains focused and effective. This level of structure is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the coaching relationship and ensuring that both parties are committed to the agreed-upon terms and objectives.




Why is a Coaching Agreement Important?


The importance of a coaching agreement cannot be overstated. It serves as a foundational element that upholds the integrity and professionalism of the coaching relationship. Here are several key reasons why a coaching agreement is essential:

  1. Clarity and Transparency: A coaching agreement provides clear guidelines on what both the coach and the client can expect from each other. This transparency helps to prevent misunderstandings and ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding the objectives, processes, and boundaries of the coaching relationship.

  2. Establishes Boundaries: By explicitly stating the roles and responsibilities of both the coach and the client, the agreement helps to establish professional boundaries. This is crucial for maintaining a respectful and effective coaching relationship, as it ensures that both parties understand their limits and obligations.

  3. Enhances Accountability: With a formal agreement in place, both the coach and the client are held accountable to their commitments. This accountability is essential for the success of the coaching process, as it motivates both parties to actively participate and work towards the agreed-upon goals.

  4. Legal and Ethical Protection: A well-drafted coaching agreement includes provisions for confidentiality, termination, and other legal and ethical considerations. This protects both the coach and the client, ensuring that the coaching relationship adheres to professional standards and legal requirements.

  5. Focus on Goals: By clearly defining the objectives and outcomes of the coaching relationship, the agreement helps to keep the coaching process goal-oriented and focused. This structured approach is essential for achieving meaningful and measurable results.

  6. Conflict Resolution: In the event of a dispute or misunderstanding, the coaching agreement serves as a reference point for resolving conflicts. By having clear terms and conditions outlined in advance, both parties can address issues in a constructive and professional manner.


What the BCC Wants Included in Your Coaching Agreement


The Board Certified Coach (BCC) has established specific guidelines for what should be included in a coaching agreement. These guidelines are designed to ensure that coaching practices meet high ethical and professional standards, safeguarding both the coach and the client. Here are the key elements that the BCC recommends including in a coaching agreement:

  1. Coaching Objectives: Clearly defined goals and outcomes that the coaching relationship aims to achieve. These objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). By setting clear goals, both the coach and the client can focus their efforts on achieving concrete results.

  2. Roles and Responsibilities: Detailed descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of both the coach and the client. This section should outline what the coach will provide, such as guidance, support, and resources, as well as what is expected from the client, including active participation and commitment to the coaching process.

  3. Confidentiality: Terms outlining the confidentiality agreement between the coach and client. This is crucial for creating a safe and trusting environment where the client feels comfortable sharing personal information. The agreement should specify what information will be kept confidential and under what circumstances, if any, confidentiality might be breached.

  4. Session Details: Information about the duration, frequency, and location of coaching sessions. This section should also include details about the methods of communication (e.g., in-person, phone, video calls) and any policies regarding rescheduling or canceling sessions.

  5. Fees and Payment: A clear outline of the coaching fees, payment terms, and any policies regarding cancellations or refunds. This ensures that both parties have a mutual understanding of the financial aspects of the coaching relationship, preventing any potential disputes.

  6. Termination Clause: Conditions under which either party can terminate the coaching relationship. This section should specify the notice period required for termination and any circumstances that might warrant an immediate end to the coaching agreement.

  7. Ethical Standards and Professional Conduct: A commitment to adhere to the ethical standards and professional conduct as outlined by the BCC. This includes maintaining professionalism, respecting the client's autonomy, and avoiding conflicts of interest.

By incorporating these elements into your coaching agreement, you can ensure that your coaching practice aligns with the BCC's standards, fostering a professional and ethical coaching environment.


How to Draft Your Coaching Agreement


Drafting a comprehensive coaching agreement may seem daunting, but with a systematic approach, it can be a straightforward process. Here are some key steps and considerations to help you create an effective coaching agreement that aligns with BCC standards:

  1. Start with a Template: Utilize a coaching agreement template as a starting point. Many professional coaching organizations and resources offer customizable templates tailored to various coaching niches. These templates can provide a solid foundation for your agreement.

  2. Customize for Your Practice: Adapt the template to reflect the specifics of your coaching practice, including your unique coaching style, methods, and any additional services you offer. Make sure the agreement is personalized to accurately represent your coaching approach and the needs of your clients.

  3. Clarify Expectations: Ensure that the agreement clearly outlines the expectations for both parties. This includes the coaching process, communication methods, and any homework or action items the client is expected to complete. Clear expectations help to establish a mutual understanding and commitment to the coaching process.

  4. Review Legal Considerations: Consult with a legal professional to ensure that your coaching agreement complies with any relevant laws and regulations. This is particularly important for clauses related to confidentiality, liability, and dispute resolution. A legal review can help protect both you and your clients from potential legal issues.

  5. Discuss with Your Client: Before finalizing the agreement, discuss it with your client to ensure they understand and agree to all terms. This conversation is an opportunity to address any questions or concerns they may have and to ensure that both parties are comfortable with the agreement.

  6. Revisit and Revise: Remember that a coaching agreement is a living document that can be revisited and revised as the coaching relationship evolves. Regularly reviewing the agreement with your client can help ensure that it continues to meet their needs and aligns with the goals of the coaching relationship.

By following these steps, you can create a robust coaching agreement that not only meets professional standards but also enhances the coaching experience for your clients. A well-drafted agreement sets the stage for a productive and transformative coaching relationship, ensuring that both parties are clear about their roles, responsibilities, and expectations.





Establishing a clear coaching agreement is an essential step in building a successful and ethical coaching practice. These agreements serve as the bedrock of the coaching relationship, providing a structured framework that ensures clarity, mutual understanding, and accountability. By adhering to the guidelines set forth by the Board Certified Coach (BCC), coaches can create agreements that protect both themselves and their clients, fostering a professional and respectful environment.

A well-crafted coaching agreement not only outlines the logistics of the coaching relationship—such as session details, fees, and confidentiality—but also sets the tone for the entire coaching journey. It ensures that both the coach and the client are aligned in their goals and expectations, which is crucial for achieving meaningful and measurable outcomes. This alignment helps to build trust, which is the cornerstone of any successful coaching relationship.

Furthermore, a coaching agreement serves as a vital tool for preventing and resolving conflicts. By having clear terms and conditions laid out from the start, both parties have a reference point for addressing any misunderstandings or disputes that may arise. This proactive approach helps maintain the integrity of the coaching relationship and ensures that it remains focused on the client's growth and development.

For coaches, taking the time to draft a comprehensive and thoughtful agreement demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct. It shows clients that you are serious about your role as a coach and dedicated to providing them with the best possible support. For clients, signing a clear coaching agreement provides reassurance that their coach is operating within a structured and ethical framework, which can enhance their confidence and engagement in the coaching process.


More Resources


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The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute clinical advice. Consult with a medical or mental health professional for advice.


James Jenkins

About the Author

James Jenkins is a writer, coach, and Mental Health Wellness contributor.

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