A strong and well-written agreement is an excellent coaching tool that provides professional businesses with legal protection making sure both parties agree to a certain set of guidelines. By defining the coach-client relationship's legal parameters including appropriate behavior, the scope of the services, and outlining the payment process, this contract serves to safeguard both your clients and yourself.
Many coaches nowadays use a coach contract template as a great way to make sure no important information is missing when signing up a new client. A pre-written template allows you to save a ton of time and quickly have a professional coaching agreement by limiting your attention to filling out the client-specific information. If you are ready to save time and begin coaching clients without fear of legal repercussions, we'll help you create a bulletproof contract template.
Read on to find out some of the essential elements you must include.
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Essential Elements of a Coaching Contract Template
Remember, a coaching contract is a legal document, so when you begin to draft your template, you want to make sure all the important information is covered and pay close attention to detail. Any mistakes or omissions could lead to disagreements or even legal repercussions. Make sure both parties accept the coaching services agreed upon and establish clear expectations for the coach-client interactions.
These are the main areas you must cover.
To begin your coaching agreement template, add a section to provide your client's contact information as well as yours. Include the full name, phone number, email address, billing address (for your client), and any other information available.
Responsibilities and Expectations
This section is an essential part of any coaching agreement, as it helps to keep healthy coach-client relationships. First, you want to make it clear that you as their coach will not have any personal responsibility for any actions they take (or don't take) and the direct as well as indirect consequences of such. Additionally, you must specify that the services you provide are in no way to be used instead of therapy and you will not diagnose, treat or cure any mental illness.
You may also use this section to establish the commitment you expect your client to have during the coaching program, making sure that they are willing to communicate honestly, be receptive to feedback, and dedicate the necessary time and effort to properly engage with the program.
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Coaching Services Provided
The following section of your coaching template should list the services included in your plan and exactly how they will be provided. Start by outlining the professional and personal aspects your client is looking to improve and briefly describe the strategy you will follow to get them there.
Specify how many coaching sessions are agreed upon, as well as the frequency of them and how the meetings will be conducted (video calls, in-person, phone call, etc...). Also, mention how the client will be able to contact you in between meetings and the procedure to follow in case they want to request any additional services you might offer such as writing reports or reviewing documents.
Reschedule and Cancellation Policy
Your time is valuable, so you want to make sure you don't waste it with missed appointments. For this reason, you must include a section where you outline the grace period you will provide to your clients before the session is considered 'missed'. Make sure to also explain the procedure that both you and your client must follow in case a session needs to be rescheduled or canceled and any refund policy for such cases.
Next, you must outline the projected payment schedule, specifying any amount required upfront as well as how many installments will be remaining, and the specific dates when you expect to get paid. Include a list of your accepted payment methods such as credit/debit card, ACH transfers, cash, checks, etc. It's also important to discuss when your client will be charged a late fee (how many days after the invoice's due date) and what the late fee amount will be (flat rate or percentage)
Intellectual Property Rights
Your coaching program will likely contain a lot of original material created by yourself. You obviously wouldn't want your client to use this material for commercial gain or give it any other unfair use. For this reason, it's important to include a clause to clearly specify how your client is allowed to use the material provided, whether this is online tools, journals, worksheets, handouts, etc. These materials should always remain your sole ownership or intellectual property so you want to make sure they stay protected legally.
As a professional coach, you must ensure your clients that all of their personal information will remain private. Your confidentiality clause must state that, unless you're required to do so by law, you will never voluntarily divulge any information exchanged during the program. Keep in mind these ground rules should go both ways, as the client must also commit to keep the coaching relationship, techniques, trade secrets and any other business confidential information discreet.
Termination of Services
You must include a section to specify the procedure to follow in case at any point of the coaching process, you or your client need to cancel the program. This clause should specify what to do in these particular circumstances, explaining how long in advance either party should present a written notification of cancellation, as well as how any outstanding balance for the coaching services that you provided must be paid.
If you will offer any refunds for sessions not completed you should also state when and how the money will be sent back to your client.
While you're providing your coaching services, it might get tricky to establish boundaries. You don't want your clients to be calling you at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, so it's essential to establish clear limits regarding your availability. Use this section to outline your office hours and specify how you wish to be contacted by your clients. Of course, you don't want your client to feel like they can't count on you, so take the time to define in which situations it will be acceptable to contact you outside of the determined hours (what would be considered an urgent matter).
Additionally, you can mention an expected response time so your clients know when they will hear back from you. Whether it is 3 hours, 24 hours, or 1 - 2 business days, make sure this is doable for you in the long run as you will have to respect this throughout the duration of the contract.
Limit of Liability Clause
With a limit of responsibility, you can lower the total amount you would ultimately owe a client if you ever run into legal issues. This cap can be set by you, and it's a good idea to consider how much you could manage to pay in the event of legal action.
If it's helpful, have a look at what other coaches usually include in their contracts about this and think about what suits your style. Although it can be difficult to write, you shouldn't avoid including a limit of liability provision because doing so could cost you a lot of money.
Use Our Free Template to Create the Perfect Coaching Agreement
If you don't have time, or you're still not sure how to structure your own coaching contract, you don't have to do it yourself. Luckily, you can simply download Bonsai's free coaching contract template which you can fully customize to fit your client's coaching needs. All of our templates have been reviewed by top legal experts and thousands of freelancers in your industry, so you can be sure your business will stay protected.
Additionally, Bonsai makes it easy to follow up on all of your coaching contracts by sending you a notification when your client receives and signs the contract. We also help streamline all formalities by incorporating a legally binding electronic signature, to help you seal the deal faster and get to work right away. Get your free contract template today, and check out all of the other administrative tools that Bonsai offers you, to take your coaching business to the next level! Get your 14-day free trial now!