Session agreements work alongside a contract for coaches, breaking down big-picture goals and objectives into subsections the coach works on with their client within each session. A coach will also need to considerwhat the five basic elements of a coaching session are, from introduction and goal setting to summarizing the takeaways and insights discovered.
Having a session agreement can be useful, helping coaches keep sessions on track, monitoring any gaps between desired and real progress, and ensuring a client is empowered to take control of their coaching and contribute to goal setting.
Although a session agreement isn’t a binding contract, it can be equally valid, ensuring a client has a formal agreement for the services they are purchasing, backed by a more detailed and strategic session agreement.
Every session agreement will differ based on the client. The aim is to provide a balance between following discussion threads and ideas that crop up without losing sight of the targets agreed on by both parties at the start of the session.
Creating a session agreement could, for example, involve running through these questions:
This collaborative approach is ideal, where a coaching client can express their ideas and provide feedback, refining how the coach tailors their services to the individual based on their thoughts and how closely they are meeting expectations.
What are the four components of coaching, and how do they integrate with a session agreement? The principle of the coaching relationship is unchanged, while a session agreement draws on the objective of the coaching contract and the coach’s philosophy and approach.
The coaching contract sets out the terms and conditions of the service, such as what the coach is offering, the fees they will charge, and any commitments made, such as attending in-person coaching catch-ups once a week.
Contracts are binding agreements entered into before coaching engagements start. While a comprehensive contract is normally created and presented by the coach, this may sometimes need to be tweaked if it contains specific details about the client and their aims.
One of the important aspects of any coaching contract is that it should be kept up to date or amended where necessary as the engagement develops. A great contract manages expectations, clarifies payment and cancellation terms, and avoids any potential for conflict–but it may hold less value if something has changed since the beginning, which means the contract is now invalid or out of date.
As a baseline, a professional contract is reliable, credible, and trustworthy, where a client knows precisely what they are getting and what it will cost. There are no surprises, and they can have confidence that their coach has made a commitment to helping them achieve their goals.
However, contracts and agreements are also a great way to improve engagement, where the client can participate in the process, whether setting measurable outcomes or prioritizing those areas they’d like to focus on.
Mentors, coaches, and consultants can help their clients best when they have a defined plan and can evolve their strategy and approach to the individual, ensuring sessions are adjusted as needs be and when the client's targets move. Coaches might ask a client to engage in the agreement process by setting out their goals, ideal outcomes, and measures of success.
Kevin Gallagher is the CEO of The Contract Shop®, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, coaches, and more. His background is in helping online businesses grow, having previously worked at Allbirds managing part of their operations. He is proud to report that his digital artist wife Mandy is a happy customer of The Contract Shop®, and his main motivation is to help as many people like her as possible with the tools that they need to confidently manage their businesses.
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