As a professional coach, your priority will always be delivering top-notch coaching services to your clients. You probably got into the coaching business because you wanted to help people achieve their goals and the satisfaction that comes with it.
Many things that help your coaching business thrive are not fun or glamorous, but they create a solid foundation from which you can deliver your best work. As the saying goes: "you can't fire a cannon from a canoe!"
An executive coaching contract template is one of those things. Perhaps the last thing you want to do after landing a new client is present them with a legal document, but in the long run, it is better for both the coach and the client.
In this article, we'll talk about what a coaching contract is, why it's important for your business, what to include and how to easily create your own using Bonsai's free coaching contract template.
Let's dive in!
Note: Try Bonsai’s coaching contract template today at no cost. Our contracts and agreements are carefully reviewed by a team of lawyers to prevent future misunderstandings of the terms. Customize and edit our pre-made template here. Claim your 7-day free trial.
What is a coaching contract?
A coaching contract is a legally binding document that establishes clear ground rules for the coach-client relationship. It should be a crucial part of your client intake process as it provides legal protection to both parties.
Why do you need an executive coaching agreement template?
With the best will in the world, disagreements between clients and coaches will crop up from time to time. That's just life. Having a contract in which both parties agree to a set of parameters can save you from all kinds of headaches down the line.
Let's look at the main reasons for having a coaching contract in place before you begin working with a client:
Providing each new client with a coaching agreement shows that you are serious about the coaching process. It cuts through any ambiguity in the client-coach relationship from the start and sets healthy expectations for clear and open communication moving forward.
Clearly defined roles and responsibilities make it easier for you to do your job, as does the knowledge that you are covered from a legal standpoint.
Whether this means dealing with a client terminating your relationship early or a disagreement over fees, it's nice to have the peace of mind that a coaching agreement brings.
Intellectual property rights
During the coaching process, it is likely that you will be using proprietary materials and sharing them with your clients. A clause in your executive coaching agreement referencing copyright usage can protect your hard work.
Without a clear set of rules in place, it can be easy for a client to miss sessions or not commit fully to the coaching experience. This leads to a decline in motivation and the potential dissolving of the coaching process. Having a contract in place can help prevent this.
What should I include in my coaching agreement?
So, we've talked about what a coaching agreement is and why you need one. Now let's take a look at the most important areas to cover:
Start your contract with a section for both you and your client to add all relevant contact details including full names, addresses, emails, etc.
Details of services provided
Here is your chance to outline the strategy you intend to use to help your client reach their goals.
In this section, you should clearly state how many coaching sessions have been agreed to, their frequency and whether they will be in person or via phone/video call. It may also be helpful to let clients know how they can request additional coaching services that may fall outside of the initial agreement.
Responsibilities and expectations
The responsibilities and expectations section is the cornerstone of your coaching agreement. Clear expectations of what is required from each party are essential to the coaching relationship.
Make it clear to the client that you are willing to give them the best coaching possible, but that results are only possible if they are willing to attend sessions on time, be engaged in the process, and complete any assigned work outside of your scheduled sessions.
Fees and payment terms
Money can often be difficult, but laying it all out upfront in your coaching contract makes it much easier.
How are you expecting to be paid by this particular client? Do you require the entire amount up front or is there a payment schedule to follow? What payment methods do you accept (bank transfer, credit/debit card, etc.)? What date do you expect to be paid and will a late fee be charged if a client goes past the due date?
These are all things to consider in this section of the contract.
Cancellation policy and termination procedures
In this section, you can provide details on your policy for both missed appointments and early contract termination.
Missed appointments and last-minute cancelations are frequent issues in a coaching business. Setting out a clear policy in your coaching agreement ensures that you are not left out of pocket should your client miss a scheduled session.
It is also important that you describe your policy concerning early termination of the coaching contract. Do you require written notice of cancellation? If so, how far in advance? What will happen with any outstanding balance?
These are all important considerations and should be made clear to both parties to avoid contentious issues.
Protection of intellectual property rights
Your coaching toolbox likely contains many proprietary materials. These could be worksheets, journaling templates, or online resources.
Making sure these materials remain your sole intellectual property is just good business practice and adding a clause specifying exactly how your client can use them keeps them within your control. After all, the last thing you want is a client using your hard work to launch their own coaching business!
Keep yourself protected legally and make sure your work stays your own.
Trust works both ways in the client-coach relationship. On your part, you must agree that (barring legitimate legal pressure) anything discussed during coaching sessions will remain private and that you will never voluntarily discuss these private conversations with a third party.
You also must make sure that your client agrees to be discreet about any trade secrets, confidential information, or proprietary coaching techniques.
Limit of liability clause
A limit of liability clause essentially places a cap on the amount of money you would owe a client should any legal issues arise.
Limiting your exposure to financial liability could save you a potential fortune in the face of a client bringing legal action against you or your business.
The best way to create your own coaching agreement
Even with all the information above, it can still be a daunting task to create your own coaching contracts. Whether you are a life coach or executive coach. likely, you didn't get into the business to write contracts or deal with legal jargon!
Fortunately, Bonsai has you covered with our free coaching contract template. This template is fully customizable and can be edited according to the needs of different clients. All our different contract templates have undergone a thorough vetting process by legal experts as well as thousands of coaching freelancers just like you, giving you the peace of mind you need to deliver excellent coaching services whilst knowing you are legally protected.
Sending a contract through our platform means you will be notified when a client has received and signed the document using a legally binding electronic signature.
When you consider all the powerful administration tools at your disposal from contracts and forms to taxes and accounting it just makes sense to streamline your coaching business with Bonsai!
Get your free coaching agreement template today and level up your coaching services today by signing up for your 14-day free trial!
Coaching businesses, just like any other commercial enterprise, need legal coverage. A handshake deal is all well and good, but when unforeseen circumstances crop up, you will be glad you have a legal document to back you up.
Saving yourself time by using a pre-written contract template is a great idea for a busy freelance coach. The legal side of the contract has already been taken care of, meaning all you need to do is edit the client-specific information. It really is that simple.
Don't expose you or your business by not using a coaching contract. Get it right from the beginning by using a free template from Bonsai that can save you time, protect your business and allow you to deliver the best coaching possible to your clients!
Sign up here for your 14-day free trial and see what Bonsai can do for you.