As a professional coach, it's in your best interest to provide a well-written coaching client agreement as it offers legal protection and helps to clarify ground rules for a smooth client intake process. A coaching contract is a formal contract that safeguards both you as the life coach, and your clients. This legal document helps to set limits for coach-client relationships by outlining the expected behavior, length of services provided, and payment arrangements.
A great way to create a strong contract for every client is by having a pre-written life coaching contract template, which will ensure all important details are covered every single time. This will save you a lot of time as you will only have to focus on filling out the client-specific information, and you'll have a professional coaching contract in no time.
To help you create your own template, we will go over some of the most important elements you must make sure to include.
Note: Get the best contract templates and administrative coaching tools for your business with Bonsai. We help you manage client relationships, and effectively take care of all paperwork needed so you can save time and focus on your passion. Claim your 14-day free trial here.
Elements of a Life Coaching Agreement Template
A good life coaching agreement must clearly outline the responsibilities of both the coach and the client as well as lay out the right expectations regarding the coach-client relationship. When writing your contract template, keep in mind this is a legally-binding document, so pay close attention to every detail as any mistakes or omissions can easily lead to disputes and legal ramifications.
Here are the essential elements you must cover.
Description of Coaching
Many clients might be unfamiliar with what 'life coaching' actually entails. So, to begin your contract template, it's important to define the type and purpose of coaching services you will provide. Explain that your services intend to motivate your clients to reach their fullest potential on a personal and professional level. This is a great way to clarify before the customer commits to the process.
Try our life coach questionnaire to get a good understanding of what your client's problems and goals are.
Responsibilities and Expectations
Defining the client's responsibilities and expectations is fundamental to your coaching agreement. Your clients must understand they are completely responsible for developing and executing his or her own physical, mental, and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions, and results. You, as their coach, will not be held accountable for any actions or inactions or for any direct or indirect effects of any services provided.
Additionally, make sure your client understands that coaching is not therapy, you are not a mental health professional, and your program should not be used in place of therapy if necessary. You will not diagnose, treat, or cure any mental illness or physical ailment. Finally, make sure the client agrees to be open to feedback, communicate honestly, as well as invest the necessary time and energy to engage with the program fully.
Next, it's time to describe the services included in your life coaching program and how they will be provided. Outlining the meeting methods (online, in-person, phone calls, etc...), through which channels you will be available in between meetings (e-mail, voicemail, etc...), and how the client can request additional time or extra services.
It's a good idea to outline the aspects of your client's life they hope to improve and how you intend to help them (describe the program or strategy you will follow). Additionally, specify if you will be able to engage in extra activities (other than the coaching sessions), such as reviewing documents, writing reports, etc., and how much you will charge for them.
Code of Ethics and Confidentiality
Your life coaching contracts must include a confidentiality clause to ensure the client's confidential information will be kept private. You must state that all conversations will be protected and you will never voluntarily disclose the coaching relationship you have with clients without their prior consent, unless you are obligated by law to do so.
At the same time, it's worth mentioning that your client must keep your methodologies and coaching approach confidential. You don't want them sharing details of their coaching program with others because it might give potential future clients the wrong expectations of your services.
It's important to specify the length of the services you intend to provide, detailing how many sessions will take place and the duration of each meeting or call. Define how the time and dates of the meetings will be determined, and who will be responsible for initiating any scheduled calls as well as the grace period before the session is considered 'missed'.
Make sure to include a rescheduling and cancellation policy to outline the procedure to follow in case a client cannot make it to a scheduled session. Explain when the client will be subject to any extra charges or will be entitled to a refund for a missed appointment.
Termination of Services
Throughout the coaching process, several unforeseen circumstances may arise. Either you or your client might need to cancel the services, which is why you must outline the termination policy and methods. Specify how much time in advance will be needed for written notice and how any pending balance will be collected.
Intellectual Property Rights
You'll probably offer a ton of excellent resources and content to your clients, so be sure to safeguard all of it since it is YOUR intellectual property and not anybody else's. The last thing you want is to discover someone else is using your work without giving credit. Make sure to specify how your clients can use the resources you provide, whether these are part of your coaching program or free resources on your website.
Be as specific as you can in this section, you probably don't want them to use your material for business purposes. Incorporating this clause on your contract will give you the right to take legal action in the case your work is improperly used.
Being a life coach does not mean you have to always be available to your clients. In order to save your time and energy, it's crucial to establish clear boundaries in your business. Specify how you prefer to be contacted by your clients and establish your office hours so clients won't want to call you or text at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. You can clarify in which cases these guidelines can be broken (what would be considered an urgent matter).
Your response time should be mentioned in your contract as well, which will establish the timeline for your client's expectation of a response. This may be within 1 - 2 business days, 24 hours or any other time frame that fits your needs. Just be sure that whatever time frame you provide is feasible for you over the long run.
The best way to prevent being ghosted or losing money is to have clear payment terms. Specify the total price of the program or price per session, when each payment will be due and how it should be made (an online payment such as PayPal or Stripe, credit/debit cards, transfers, etc...). You must also discuss what happens when a payment is missed (are there any late payment penalties) and whether you offer any refunds.
Use Our Free Contract Template To Kick-Start The Coaching Process
If you don't have time, or you're just starting your life coaching journey, you don't have to spend hours trying to figure out the right structure for your coaching contract template. Skip the headache and download Bonsai's free coaching contract template, which you can fully customize to fit your business and client's needs. Our contract templates have been legally reviewed by top lawyers and thousands of freelancers in your industry.
Additionally, Bonsai helps you keep track of every contract you send out, as you will receive a notification once your client receives and signs for it. Your clients can sign the contract directly within the online document using a legally-binding e-signature, helping you streamline all the formalities and get started as soon as possible. Once you're already working with the client, you can use Bonsai's invoicing and accounting software to keep track of your payments and handle your business finances like a pro.
Start your 14-day free trial with Bonsai today, and see why we are the go-to option for freelancers and small business owners looking for effective administrative tools.