There are two sides to the coin of coaching. One side is the caring, curious, and thought provoking professional stepping into service for their clients. The other is the business savvy professional who appropriately sets parameters around the profession of coaching. An important part of any professional coach’s business arsenal is a solid system for creating coaching contracts, and it doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Quenza makes the client intake process easy! The days of back-and-forth emails with attached documents are over. A well written, professional contract with a streamlined process for getting that document signed, allows for the business savvy coach to more quickly and efficiently get to the service of helping others grow.
Read on to see how Quenza can assist you in the coaching contract creation process.
Why Sign A Coaching Contract?
A coaching contract is a legal document that protects both the coach and the client. This document is a helpful way to establish boundaries for the coach-client relationship.
Describing the type of coaching, establishing expected behavior, and outlining payments/ length of service language allows a clear and open communication to be established before flipping to the service side of the coaching coin.
One of the core competencies of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the co-creation of the coach-client relationship. ICF accredited coaches are expected to establish and maintain agreements with the client. Though not all coaches are ICF accredited, it remains good practice to understand and abide by this “rule.”
The coaching contract is a fundamental process for establishing this core competency. A well-written agreement creates clarity around the processes, plans, and goals of the type of coaching being contracted. It is vital to state in each contract the responsibilities of each party.
Every client should thoroughly understand the process of coaching and its purposes. Coaching can cover personal growth in life domains, including: relationships, career, spirituality, values, finances, education, recreation, health, transitions, and decision-making. Ensuring that each client fully understands their personal responsibility for their wellbeing during the process is paramount.
It is also foundational to establish the understanding that coaching is not intended as medical advice. Coaching should never be construed as mental health counseling, treatment for substance abuse, or promoting expertise/advise. An understanding that the teaching of principles and skills in positive psychology or other coaching domains should also be included in the contract as part of the coaching process.
7 Clauses To Include In Your Agreement
1. Description of Coaching
Many clients are unfamiliar with coaching when they begin the process. Outlining an understanding of the type of coaching provided is a helpful way to preset clients’ expectations for what coaching is and what coaching is not. Including this clause in your agreement allows clarity of service to be present from the start of service.
2. Client-Coach Relationship
Boundaries are very important in the client-coach relationship. This clause in a contract outlines ways the coach may be contacted, and for what reasons. Clients should feel safe to disclose personal information, but at the same time be bound by the contractual parameters for contacting their coach.
3. Services Provided
A client should be able to understand the type of services that their coach will provide. This clause in a contract outlines these services and the process in which they are provided. The client should know how the coaching will be conducted (e.g. online).
Create a clear and written understanding that coaching is not to be confused with or a replacement for professional mental health counseling. Establishing the understanding that the coach is not functioning as a licensed mental health professional, if this is the case, provides legal protection for the coach and client. Though coaching can be therapeutic, it is fundamental that the client understands that coaching is not therapy.
It is also important to include verbiage around informing the coach about mental health services being provided by a licensed psychologist, social worker, therapist, or counselor. Receiving advisability of working with a coach from the mental health provider is also an encouraged piece of the contract. A consent form for shared information with that mental health professional may need to be established as well.
4. Release of Information (if applicable)
If coaches participate in training or consultation and might anonymously share client topics, this should be included in the form of a release. Also, if the client is working with a mental health professional, it is advisable to include the release of information for this purpose as well. Including this a separate form to be signed and dated is encouraged.
5. Schedule and Fees
A fee agreement, schedule, and duration of service clause is very important in the contract. Upon engagement of agreement, coach and client must be aware of the total amount of the fee, the number of sessions, duration of each session, and the method of payment. Some contracts require pre-payment, which should always be included in the agreement.
6. Cancellation Policy and Procedures
Many unpredictable situations can occur throughout the process of coaching. Clients, or coaches, may desire to cancel services. Including a clause for the cancellation policy and the procedures to do so are important in the initial contract.
Procedures for rescheduling coaching sessions should also be outlined in the contract. Setting boundaries around rescheduling saves the coach and the client time and offers a respectful relationship to be built around the process. Both parties’ time is valuable, therefore setting up official processes for respecting this time is important.
7. Confidentiality and Code of Ethics
Coaching is a confidential relationship and should be stated as such in the contract. However, coaching communication is not protected in the same way a licensed mental health practitioner is protected. It is advisable to include a clause in the contract that communication between coach and client can be compelled by law enforcement.
How To Create, Send & Store Contracts Securely
Having a plan for creating, sending, and storing contracts securely is important for any professional coach. Streamlining this process allows coaches to get down to the business of serving their clients. Quenza’s platform allows you to create pathways for your clients that are easy, safe, and secure.
Quenza’s HIPAA and GDPR compliant software is privacy by design, which can put any practitioner’s mind at ease. Creating, sending, and storing client contracts securely has never been easier. Since the process is so important, making it easy allows for practitioners to spend more time on service and less time on business processes.
Human motivation theories have shown that making tasks easy increases their rate of completion. People are more likely to donate their time and money if the process for doing so is expedient, especially with the use of technology. Signing a contract should be thorough, but also easy to complete.
Crafting A Coaching Contract with Quenza: 2 Examples
Using Quenza’s drag-and-drop tools creates ease and professionalism for coaching contract creation. It is a true game changer for busy professional practitioners. The software allows ease in usage of individual business branding. Quenza even allows creation of a pdf download feature for signed documents.
Attached is a Coaching Agreement Example that was created in Quenza. A fictitious client name was used in its creation for privacy protection.
A helpful contract activity for clients within Quenza is the self-contract. This helpful tool allows coaches to personalize a contract for their clients to hold themselves accountable in goal pursuit. Along with other forms and activities, this helpful tool can be sent to clients via the Quenza app.
2 Contract Templates & Samples For Your Practice
The International Coaching Federation has provided a free ICF Template to aid coaches in creating their personalized contract. It is a helpful template because it includes all that is needed to adhere this core competency. The document follows legal guidelines for contractual obligation.
This Coaching Engagement Agreement template gives you a usable sample to practice creating your own coaching contract. The process doesn’t have to be tedious. Take a thorough look at the words that you prefer to use in the process, so that all of your clients are well served.
6 Benefits of Quenza’s Online Platform
- Though coaching does not require HIPAA and GDPR compliance, Quenza provides them both! Confidentiality is a key to trust creation in any coach-client relationship, and knowing that the contracted coaching process is encrypted and stored with security is a comfort to any client signing on for service. For practitioners desiring their proprietary data be kept secure, this platform respects and provides that need.
- Adding the signature option within the software makes the process simple for both client and coach. Sending a request for form completion can be completed in minutes. Clients find the ease of this process appealing.
- The pathways are designed to be personalized for each practitioner. The appeal of choice in including personal branding, or allowing Quenza’s name on proprietary contracts is a thoughtful feature. Client brand recognition is important when signing documents and completing activities.
- Changes to contracts or documents can be easily made within the platform. Practitioners don’t have to be incredibly tech savvy to use the platform either. User friendly technology gives practitioners the opportunity to become efficient in their back office organization without an overhaul of their entire practice.
- The secure chat feature enables quick contact with clients, eliminating exhaustive email chains. It also streamlines note taking capability to include these quick chats. It’s basically a one stop for all coaching needs that serves practitioners to better serve their clients.
- There are built-in reassurances about who is seeing your data with a client. Knowing who can see your interactions enables more trust in the relationship between coach and client by utilizing such a secure platform. Enabling a safe space for technological interaction can be incredibly helpful for allowing clients to feel open in their communication.
A Note On Group Coaching Contracts
Group contracts are similar to individual client contracts in that they provide protection for both the coach and the client. However, when serving a group it is important to include disclosure that anything taught within a group setting is not intended as medical advice. Group coaching differs from individual coaching and that understanding should be communicated in the contract.
The contract should be signed by each group participant to protect confidentiality of the group. Mutual respect for participants in any group setting should be directly stated within the contractual agreement. This type of contract need not be lengthy, but rather succinct and clear.
Proprietary information should also be protected within the contract. Content that is shared is protected for the coach. It can be stated that any tips or skills shared should be given appropriate credit, or not shared at all.
All group contracts should be signed and dated before any group coaching has ensued. In any group it can be incredibly reassuring to know that all other participants are held to the same standards. This creates a foundation of trust for the group.
This template can be used as a Group Coaching Contract.
Contracts are protective elements for the coach and the client alike. Legal protection prevents problems from arising and disrupting the business of coaching. Professionalism not only raises the bar for the coach’s business, but it raises the legitimacy of the profession itself.
Though coaching is a helping profession, contracts enable the help to have boundaries and predetermined expectations. Quenza’s platform creates ease and protection in the process of coaching contract creation. We can all find gratitude knowing that there is help for the helping profession.