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Coaching can be a pivotal aspect for businesses. A coaching contract serves as a haven for both clients and coaches. Whether sports, leadership, professional development, physical wellbeing, or personal relationships, coaching applies to all fields.
Even though it's a welcome practice, it's better to have a legal coaching agreement document with pre-decided terms and conditions. This way, coaches and their clients can avoid confusion and conflicts later.
This post will discuss coaching contracts and how you should go about making such agreements.
What is a Coaching Contract?
A coaching contract is a legal agreement that dictates the nature of a coach-client relationship. There can be many different relationships based on general services agreements, price agreements, etc.
Typically, coaches set these contracts to agree to ensure that all the concerned parties oblige and understand their involvement according to the contract. It's like a professional services agreement that determines:
- The scope of services
- Termination of services agreement
- Service fee
Therefore, it's important to know what a coaching contract can offer, especially for coaches who don't get the nit bits of the legal world.
Here is an article about negotiating a contract and its process.
Why Are Coaching Contracts Important?
A coaching contract is about giving legal representation to a coach-client relationship. It sets the boundaries for the involved parties until the agreement has terminated. Since it's a binding document, the contracting parties must adhere to the agreed terms and conditions, service fee, and coaching hours.
With such an agreement, both the coach and the client know beforehand what to expect from this relationship. Thanks to these contracts' clear and legal tone, the coaches and clients work in a more comfortable environment without fear of consequences.
It also means that the involved parties should carefully read the document before signing it. As a client, you should know what your contract is offering and how you can take advantage of grooming yourself ethically, professionally, health-wise, etc. Negligence to any term or condition may hold you liable.
Here is an article about Negligence, its types, and its elements
What Should Be Included in a Coaching Contract?
A coaching contract must be comprehensive. There are two aspects of a coaching contract. Firstly, there are the essential details, service, and fee agreements between the contracting parties. Secondly, you highlight the professional services, expectations, and outcomes of the service.
Here is a detailed look at what to include in a coaching contract:
- Contact details: These include information of coach and client, including email, phone numbers, and address.
- The goal(s) of the coaching service: Be precise in writing goals to ensure better results.
- Price agreement : The price agreement is the amount and mode of payment. Be specific if your payment terms agreement involves a payment plan. Mention hourly, monthly, or program-wise payments, whichever apply.
- Cancellation and rescheduling options and policies : It must be mentioned how the client should cancel or reschedule the contract. What will be the cancellation fee? If the contract is renewed, what will be the new price?
- Data privacy and confidentiality: Confidentiality of client's information is of utmost importance. Similarly, the coach may mention a clause restricting the client from sharing his training-related information, such as manuals, charts, diet plans, etc.
- Coaching Process : The coaching process must entail when, where, and how it will occur and when you can expect to see the outcomes.
- Expectations: Anticipated outcomes of the coaching services should be mentioned in the contract.
- Disclaimer : The coach may include a clause that they won't be responsible for the outcomes if the client fails to apply their advice, hence remaining unsuccessful.
- Client Role: Your client must be responsible and play their part in making the coaching beneficial.
- Termination of contract: Usually, a contract is terminated after the specified length of the coaching service is reached, irrespective of the outcome.
- Refund policy: There must be a clause stating how much compensation the client will receive if the contract is not executed due to any reason.
- Support level: The coaching contract should also include the amount of involvement of the coach. If it's a physical activity, like working out, to what extent the coach should involve.
- Coaching sessions: It includes the number of sessions, length, the structure of sessions, homework, etc.
- Limits of coaching: It means how far particular coaching can help the client. It must talk about the coaching approach as well.
Image via Pexels by cottonbro
Types of Coaching Contracts
A coaching contract has several types, depending on the nature of coaching and required services. Here is a quick look at them:
- Session Agreements: Typically, there can be new and emerging coaching patterns during long-duration coaching contracts. These patterns may or may not align with the actual contract. Therefore, clients and coaches may need to go into mini-session agreements that focus on the main agreement.
- Sequence Agreements: Sequence agreements focus on the flow of a coaching session. Typically, it depends on the client's nature. Then the coach decides the flow of resolving problems. These 'sequences' may be short-duration sessions with multiple sequences in a session. Each sequence focuses on a specific subject, theme, and objective.
- Coach Intervention Agreement: This agreement involves taking clients' permission to interrupt them during a coaching session. It's a way to continuously guide a client during a session by asking their permission to intervene and ask questions that can lead the discussion in a better direction.
- Homework Contracts: A homework contract may prompt a client to do some homework before appearing in the next session. In-home contracts, the client and coach agree on specific actions that they will implement on the field to observe and discuss their outputs in the coming sessions.
- Triangular Contracts: A triangular coaching contract involves a third party where the client and coach are connected via an absent third party. These contracts typically occur in organizations where HR and managers allocate coaches to certain employees for professional grooming.
Here is an article that describes in detail the different types of contracts.
How Long Does a Coaching Contract Last?
A coaching contract doesn't always have a fixed duration. Generally, these durations are pre-decided by the contracting parties. However, a couple of coaching sessions may be enough to achieve the desired results in some cases.
In other cases, coaching sessions can go on for months until the required results are met. In most cases, the duration of a coaching session depends on the achievement of intended outcomes. However, coaches estimate a time before starting the sessions to devise a well-mapped fee agreement with their clients.
Here is an article about independent contractor legal costs.
How Much Are Coaches Paid?
Coaching is rewarding. Life coaches can earn anywhere between $100 to $200 an hour. Experienced professionals may earn up to $600 an hour.
Likewise, career coaches earn about $42 an hour. However, the average national salary of a career coach is around $16 per hour.
Here is more on coach salaries.
Who Writes a Coaching Contract?
A coaching contract is like a service contract where both parties have a role to play. Generally, you can find several coaching contract templates provided by legal document services agencies. You can add the terms and conditions of the contract without worrying about other essential details.
These templates are ready to edit. The coaches and clients collectively decide on different terms and conclude before a competent authority further authorizes the document.
Get Help with a Coaching Contract
A coaching contract highlights the essential elements ad binds the contracting parties to follow it. However, it's important to remember that coaching is more about professional development, and it doesn't necessarily include mental advice. So, if clients want psychological services and support, too, they may add separate clauses in the coaching contract.
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I am an experienced contracts professional having practiced nearly 3 decades in the area of corporate law and nearly a decade in the investment and finance arena. I enjoy providing a cost effective, high quality and timely solution to client needs. This includes any form of contract a business may encounter, start-up matters, financings, informal dispute resolution, as well as mergers and acquisitions. I graduated from NYU Law School. I have worked at top Wall Street firms, top regional firms as well as long term experience in my own practice. I would welcome the opportunity to be of service to you as a trusted fiduciary.
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