Establishes and Maintains Agreements

“Putting first things first means organizing and executing around your most important priorities. It is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by the agendas and forces surrounding you.” ~ DR. STEPHEN R. COVEY (from Habit 3: Put First Things First)

As coaches (and the coachee), we may want to directly jump into the heat and passion of coaching, strike while the iron is hot, get to the case before it gets cold. However, as leaders within our own rights & managing our own coaching business, we must put first things first, THE COACHING AGREEMENT.

As part of Co-Creating the Relationship process, the definition is : Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, process, plans and goals. Establishes agreements for the overall coaching
as well as those for each coaching session.

Thus, giving a clear frame of understanding of each party within the coaching relationship i.e. the coach, the client, the stakeholder and creates realistic expectations, sense of accountability, aims for return on investment and finally the transformation of the individual.

The 11 sub-competencies on this core competency is as below:

  1. Explains what coaching is and is not and describes the process to the client and relevant stakeholders (which is key to establish the boundaries of mentoring, counselling, therapy and coaching)
  2. Reaches agreement about what is and is not appropriate in the relationship, what is and is not being offered, and the responsibilities of the client and relevant stakeholders (which is riding back to the ICF Code of Ethics)
  3. Reaches agreement about the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship such as logistics, fees, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality and inclusion of others (I would say that this is the operational aspects of the contract that is typically negotiated, and may need adjustment as the coaching relationship progresses)
  4. Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to establish an overall coaching plan and goals (This is helps to give some direction to the outcome and manage expectations of all parties)
  5. Partners with the client to determine client-coach compatibility (This is pretty tricky, however some form of common language, compatibility is important so to build rapport and trust)
  6. Partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what they want to accomplish in the session (Stakeholders may have different expectations, and the client different in learning styles or pace, hence matching the outcome becomes crucial for success)
  7. Partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address or resolve to achieve what they want to accomplish in the session (There are 2 points here – define – which iterates specifics and the other belief – which is the philosophy behind)
  8. Partners with the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what the client wants to accomplish in the coaching engagement or individual session (Following all the goal setting, action planning, the measures of success is important to ensure we are aligned with the end in mind)
  9. Partners with the client to manage the time and focus of the session (Though this seems like a trivial element, the commitment on this can be one of the trickiest to manage. Postponement, punctuality, state of mind, affect the effectiveness of the coaching session)
  10. Continues coaching in the direction of the client’s desired outcome unless the client indicates otherwise (the focus is the client, even though the coach might see the obvious)
  11. Partners with the client to end the coaching relationship in a way that honors the experience (whether it is the end of the coaching plan, or an amicable parting, some form of development and progress would have taken place. Hence, honoring the experience is just abundance mindset!)

A little humour here, the agreement helps to manage the perception and expectations of everyone that is being involved in the process.


Now, for my key take-aways for this session:

  1. Prior to moving forward with agreements etc, let’s consider the coaching business model that I am going to adopt. This will determine the scope, the business, the plan and finally the agreement is just to seal the deal.
  2. Working backwards, align the coaching PROPOSAL, in anticipation of the coaching AGREEMENT.
  3. Consider your style and the coaching agreement compliance, done well, it will serve to protect you, your reputation, and your coaching business.

Conclusion, the coaching agreement is like the window that frames the scenery that you want to enjoy. It sets the boundaries of the viewpoint, it keeps focus and targets the transformation.

Published by Shereen Kaur

Coach, Consultant, Wellness Advocate, Artist, Mom

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