As an independent coach, you must do everything you can to keep your business protected and ensure all your coaching programs run smoothly. The best way to do this? Incorporate a well-written, legally-reviewed coaching agreement to your onboarding process. This will help you tremendously by establishing a set of ground rules to ensure the client-coach relationship is healthy and keep your liabilities to the minimum.
If you provide executive coaching services, outlining these rules is even more important as the result of your coaching program can affect not only your client, but the company they work for as well. Creating your own executive coaching agreement template is a great way to ensure that all the important details are always included and you will not have to spend so much time trying to figure out a structure for each client.
To help you draft the best agreement template, we have a list of vital elements that you must cover every single time. Let's get into it.
Note: Bonsai's all-in-one product suite is the go-to option for coaching professionals to create bulletproof contracts. Use our free templates and additional follow-up tools such as automatic reminders and notifications when your clients receive and sign your contract. Get yours today!
Essential Elements of an Executive Coaching Contract Template
When creating your coaching agreement template, remember that this is a legal document, so it is crucial to pay close attention to detail. You must present all the information in a way that it's easy to understand for your clients, in order to avoid any disputes or legal ramifications in the future.
Here are the important elements your coaching agreement template must not miss.
The first element of your coaching agreement template should include your business name (or your full name) and contact information such as phone number, email, and address. In the same way, include the name and contact information of the person or company that is hiring you to provide the executive coaching services.
Responsibilities and Expectations
Next, you must set clear expectations as far as how the client-coach relationship will work. It's important to clarify that, as their executive coach, you will not be responsible for any decisions taken or not taken during the coaching program and how these might affect the client or business. Your services should not be used to replace any therapy needed and you are not there to diagnose, treat or cure any mental condition.
Additionally, explain the behavior and commitment expected during the coaching process, ensuring your client agrees to maintain an honest, clear and open communication, dedicating the necessary effort and time to the program, and being receptive to feedback. This helps you maintain healthy and professional coach-client relationships.
Coaching Services to Be Provided
In this section of your coaching agreement, you will list the services included on your plan, which should have been previously agreed upon when you presented the business proposal. You can start by outlining the professional challenges your client needs help with and then explain the steps you will take to help them reach their goals. As you do this, specify how many sessions are included in your coaching package as well as the duration and frequency of them.
Also, mention how the scheduled meetings will be held (online, in-person or via phone call), and your preferred method of contact in case your client needs you in between sessions. If you offer additional services outside of the agreement, you might also want to mention the procedure to request them and the cost of each service.
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Reschedule and Cancellation policy
You want to try, as much as possible, to avoid missed appointments. A great way to do this is by outlining in your contract the procedure to follow in case you or your client cannot make it to a scheduled session. First, specify how long you will wait before the session is considered missed, and will there be a refund in case the session was already paid for. Then explain how long in advance the client should reschedule or cancel a meeting, and how many times this will be allowed during the length of the contract.
An important part of all coaching contracts is the payment terms. You must outline a projected payment schedule, specifying any amount required upfront, following installments and the dates when payments will be requested. Don't forget to include the accepted methods of payment (online payments such as PayPal or Stripe, credit/debit cards, ACH transfers, etc...). It's also important to mention the grace period your client will have to pay an invoice and if there will be any late payment penalties applied (specify how much the fees will be).
Intellectual Property Rights
During the executive coaching process, you will provide your clients valuable material that was likely created by yourself. It's a great business practice to have some legal protection for all of your original material. You can do this by adding an 'intellectual property rights' clause that clearly explains how your clients will be allowed to use all the information and tools you provide during and after the program. The last thing you want is to find out a client you helped years ago is now using your material for commercial gain, so stay ahead of the game by adding this clause to all of your coaching agreements.
Limit of liability Clause
This is another important piece of legal protection for all coaching businesses, but it can be especially useful in an executive coaching relationship. If you ever run into legal issues with the client or company you are working with, a limit of responsibility clause will help you set a cap on how much you could manage to pay in these particular circumstances.
While it may be a complicated piece to include, take the time to really think about it, and if it's helpful try to look at what other coaches are including in their contract. Not including this clause could eventually cost you a lot of money.
Last but not least, any professional coach should include a confidentiality clause in the contract to make sure both parties agree to keep all confidential information shared during the program as a private matter. This goes both ways. Your client must not share any trade secrets, or specifics about your program, and you must not divulge any personal and/or business information unless either of you are required to do so by law.
Use Our Free Agreement Templates for Your Coaching Services
Perfecting your client intake process can take a lot of time, and with so much on your plate, the last thing you want is another daunting task to take care of like creating your own templates. Luckily, you don't have to do it yourself. Simply download Bonsai's fully-customizable free contract template, especially designed for coaching businesses. This pre-written form will save you a lot of time when drafting your professional contracts, and you can incorporate your own branding elements to create a personalized document.
Bonsai also helps you streamline the formalities by allowing your clients to sign the contract within the online document, using a legally-binding digital signature. All of our templates have been legally vetted by top lawyers and verified by thousands of professionals in your industry. So you can be sure you'll stay protected and provide a legal document that your clients can trust.
Get your free template today, and sign up for your 14-day free trial to take advantage of many other excellent administrative tools to handle your invoicing, accounting and taxes like a pro.