How to Write a Coaching Agreement
A coaching agreement is a legal document that sets the expectations of the client-coach relationship. It should state in the agreement what the client expects the coach to do, while also specifying the method of payment the coach receives in return. More importantly, however, are the different policies set by the coach, violations (from both parties), and terms of confidentiality and termination are also necessary.
The significance of this document, however, is found in the fact that should a client have the urge to sue the coach for whatever reason (due to the dissatisfaction of service or otherwise), the coach is legally protected. Now, with its importance covered, how do you make solid coaching contract templates that will both provide the guidelines of the transaction as well as protect the coach's assets? Here are a few tips:
1. Make Sure It's Easy to Understand
Don't get too fancy with the writing; you're writing a legal agreement, not a 300-word essay about your life moments. The important thing to remember is that your client understands from the beginning what they signed up for—your coaching program. They need to be able to agree with your methods, which they probably won't if you try to make your contract too formal. Simplicity is best in this situation. Make sure they understand that your purpose is to help them and that anything you two do during sessions shall fall under different policies such as Confidentiality, Terms, and Conditions, etc.
2. Inform the Client of the Disclaimer
Theuiaa.org states that a customer can give up liability to the coach should they sign the agreement IF (1) a disclaimer is present, and (2) the client is well-informed beforehand of this and still gives consent and signs a consent agreement to do so. The last part is important as this is a coach's saving grace should it reach court; that the client still signed knowing that he was well-informed of what they were giving up before signing. Coaching does not equal guaranteed success, and a good disclaimer can help you out of situations when your client didn't "receive the results they expected."
3. Address Fees and Refunds Thoroughly
Make it clear what you both expect here; that you receive your due fees on the agreed dates (or follow a payment schedule) and hold the client accountable if they can't pay you, and that should they be unhappy of your service, they can ask for a refund given that they request it before a specified amount of days. This gives both you and your client money security as they are now obliged to pay your coaching fee while they are assured of a money-back guarantee if they are unhappy with your services.
4. Discuss Terms of Conditions
Simply put, the conditions are that you do your best to coach them provided they actually show up to your scheduled meetings. This talks about (1) the Responsibility of the Client as your trainee and (2) Emergencies and rescheduling of sessions. Now the client expects you to lead them to who they can be and succeed, and any coach, business-related or not, can understand this. But on the other end of it, if the client doesn't show up at all, then what's the point? Now, emergencies are an exception, but you must provide rules and regulations in terms of this such as "To reschedule a session, I, the coach, must be informed at ____ hours beforehand so that I don't have to wait for you, etc. If you can't then that meeting will still be paid for even if you weren't there," or something like that. Just make it clear that they also need to help themselves and you can't just do everything for them.
5. Make Sure that the Terms of Confidentiality, Termination, and Indemnification Are Clear
These terms deserve a special mention as these are important; terms of confidentiality means that nothing you and your client talk about are kept between you, and the client respects the copyright policies of the training program. Terms of Termination are the terms that help a coach get out of a difficult client that does not really learn anything and, in laymen's terms, is being toxic and rude. Terms of Indemnification are for when the worst of the worst happens. Basically, when making your written agreement, make sure that you do your research, especially on these 3, as these cover your relationship with the client if things don't go according to plan.
Use these tips in drafting your agreement. If you need more sample agreement templates, you can always check out our website.