What Makes a Good Coaching Contract? Your Complete Checklist 

June 22, 2023
Coaching contract

Table of Contents

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In the dynamic world of coaching, where professionals strive to elevate the personal and professional lives of their clients, crafting a comprehensive coaching contract agreement is paramount. Whether you’re offering life coaching, business coaching, or executive coaching services, a well-defined contract not only formalizes the engagement but also ensures clarity and mutual understanding between you and your client. This blog delves into the essential clauses that should be included in your coaching agreements to safeguard the interests of all parties involved and to lay the foundation for a successful coaching journey.

Any kind of two- or multi-party engagement begins with some targets, timelines and other agreed-upon factors such as remuneration. Since it is a valid legal document, a contract serves as a protection for all concerned parties in instances of violation of its terms and conditions.  

A coaching contract allows the coach and client to list down agreements that ensure both parties understand and agree to those and embark upon or renew a professional relationship. 

However, many a coach has entered an engagement without a contract. And as a coach, you might not be armed with detailed knowledge of the legalities that go into making a good coaching contract or a flawless coaching agreement.  

To that end, here’s a comprehensive list of clauses you should include in your coaching contract: 

1. Outline client-coach details 

At the heart of any coaching contract, whether it be a life coach contract or a business coaching contract, is the basic information about both the coach and the client. This includes contact details which act as the foundational block of the agreement, akin to a rent agreement in its necessity for clear identification of both parties.

Your coaching contract template must include basic information about the client as well as the coach, including the office/ residential address, email address, phone numbers, and so on. To draw an analogy, think about a rent agreement between the tenant and the house owner. 

2. Define coaching goals 

This forms the core of your coaching contract: What does your client expect to learn from the coaching exercise? These expectations must be in-line with your services and offerings and also agreed upon by you. Similarly, your targets and desired outcome must form a part of this goals clause. Goals can be both short- and long-term and public (like performance goals that can be disclosed to the coaching sponsor) as well as private (like confidence goals that are strictly confidential between you and the client). If you haven’t agreed upon the goals yet, or want to remain fluid, you can avoid going into granular details. Additional information on how to measure these goals and create a feedback loop is also vital. 

Central to a business coach contract or any coaching agreements is the articulation of the client’s expectations and the coach’s delivery targets. This clause is the cornerstone of the contract for coaching services, outlining both short-term and long-term aspirations, ranging from performance enhancements to deeply personal confidence boosts.

3. Define the expectations 

Most clients are unaware of what coaching exactly is. In an interview with Simply.Coach, Pradip Sarin (a PCC Certifies Coach and the Co-founder of NEWVER.ME) shared that his first reaction when his bank organized a coaching session for him was one of surprise. He thought “why? I don’t need someone to tell me how to do my job.” But it was only when he started the engagement with his coach that he realized how it would add value to his life. 

It’s, therefore, very important to explain what coaching is to your clients early on, and also explain how it differs from similar professions such as mentoring, consulting, or therapy. The coaching agreement helps set these boundaries in a formal way to protect both your expectations. 

Clarifying what coaching entails is crucial, especially for clients new to the concept. This section of your coaching contract agreement differentiates coaching from mentoring, consulting, and therapy, setting the stage for a clear understanding of the coaching process.

4. Set clear boundaries 

A coach-client relationship is primarily professional in nature. Setting a proper boundary regarding why, when and how a client may get in touch with you over the course of the program is crucial. It’s the coach’s responsibility to create an amicable environment for his/ her clients and it’s up to the client to respect the contractual boundaries when it comes to contacting the coach outside of sessions. 

Setting the boundary may also include the duration of the program, beyond which you may not be liable to offer any guidance. 

A coach contract must delineate the professional boundaries of the coach-client relationship. This includes communication protocols and the scope of the program, ensuring both parties respect the professional nature of their engagement.

5. Define the scope of your services 

A good coaching contract must incorporate a clause that specifies the services the client is entitled to receive and how (e.g.: online or offline). Through this coaching agreement clause, you can seamlessly establish your responsibilities as a coach and help set client expectations right from the outset of the program. For instance, if you are a life coach dealing with post-trauma recovery, your clients must not confuse you with a mental health professional. 

Whether it’s a life coaching contract or an executive coaching contract, specifying what services the client is entitled to, and the manner of their delivery, is crucial. This clause helps manage expectations and underscores the professional boundaries of the coaching relationship.

Although life coaches aren’t licensed health professionals, there are certain legal requirements attached to the role. 

Read our blog to know about the legal requirements of a life coach!

6. Client responsibility 

Coaching is a two-way street. This clause in your coaching contract upholds accountability for your clients in working alongside you in making the coaching engagement a success, getting feedback in the right spirit, working upon their weaknesses, all with an eye to accomplishing their goals.  

Acknowledging that coaching is a collaborative effort is essential in any coaching agreements. This part of the coaching contract agreement emphasizes the client’s role in achieving their goals, fostering a sense of accountability and partnership.

7. Confidentiality 

The coaching journey and all content and information shared should be confidential between a coach and a client. It is best practice to include such a clause in your coaching contract even if it is not strictly legally bound. It builds trust in both parties and makes the relationship and journey ahead smoother. 

The assurance of privacy is a cornerstone of trust in any coaching contract, from executive coaching service agreements to life coaching contracts. This clause reassures clients that their shared information remains confidential, cultivating a safe space for growth and development.

8. Schedule and payment 

Payment terms and conditions form the backbone of any coaching contract and is one of the key items in the document. To avoid any kind of hassle in the future, one should always lay down remuneration details, frequency and method of payment, next steps in the case of delayed payments, number of sessions agreed upon, and other terms such as advance payment. 

The backbone of a business coaching agreement involves clear terms around remuneration, session schedules, and payment procedures. Transparent discussion and documentation of these terms prevent future disputes and ensure a smooth coaching process.

9. Cancellation and refund policy

Life’s unpredictability necessitates a clear cancellation and refund policy within your coaching contracts. This clause outlines the procedures for contract termination, protecting both parties from potential financial and emotional discomfort. 

Although every engagement begins with great intent, there may be some unforeseen circumstances that could lead to the termination of a contract midway. Any party is free to terminate the coaching agreement, but that might involve financial implications like cancellation fees. Detailing out such items in a coaching contract makes it seamless for both parties to exit the engagement. This saves time, effort and mental agony. 

10. Disclaimer 

Including a disclaimer in your coaching agreements protects your professional integrity, stating that the client’s success depends on their adherence to the coaching process and that outcomes cannot be guaranteed.

To safeguard one’s professional services and brand, a coach may choose to add a disclaimer in the contract that states that the coach won’t be held accountable if in any case, the client does not follow coaching guidance and is not able to reap the desired benefits. 

With platforms like Simply.Coach, managing your coaching agreements have been easier. Whether you’re drawing from ICF-specification adhering contract templates or crafting a coaching contract from scratch, these digital tools offer seamless creation, organization, and storage of contracts, ensuring you’re prepared for every coaching engagement and have it digitally signed by the client and stored against his/her profile if needed for future reference.

Sources: Clevermemo, Growthecoach, Quenza, Contracts Counsel 


1. What is a coaching contract?

A coaching contract is a formal agreement between a coach and a client that outlines the terms of the coaching relationship. It includes details such as the scope of services, goals of the coaching engagement, session logistics, payment terms, confidentiality agreements, and any other conditions pertinent to the coaching arrangement. This contract serves as a foundation for a clear, professional relationship, ensuring both parties have a mutual understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

2. Why is it important for a coaching contract to include terms regarding the termination of the agreement?

Including terms regarding the termination of the agreement in a coaching contract is crucial because it provides a clear exit strategy for both the coach and the client. It outlines the conditions under which the coaching relationship can be dissolved, such as failure to meet payment terms, breach of contract, or at the discretion of either party with prior notice. This ensures that both parties are protected and have a mutual understanding of how to conclude the engagement respectfully and professionally if necessary.

3. How should a coaching contract approach the topic of goal setting and outcomes expectations?

A coaching contract should approach goal setting and outcomes expectations by clearly defining the objectives the client wishes to achieve through the coaching sessions. It should encourage collaboration between the coach and client in setting realistic, measurable, and time-bound goals. Additionally, the contract should manage expectations by clarifying that while the coach will provide support and guidance, the client is ultimately responsible for their progress and achievements.

4. What guidelines should a coaching contract provide regarding communication between sessions?

The coaching contract should provide clear guidelines on communication between sessions, including the acceptable modes of communication (e.g., email, phone calls), response times, and boundaries regarding the frequency and duration of such communications. This ensures both parties have a mutual understanding of how and when they can connect outside of scheduled sessions, maintaining professional boundaries and respecting each other’s time.

5. How can a coaching contract ensure alignment with any applicable legal and regulatory requirements?

A coaching contract can ensure alignment with any applicable legal and regulatory requirements by including clauses that address confidentiality, data protection, and adherence to specific industry standards or regulations relevant to the client’s or coach’s jurisdiction. The contract should also specify that the coaching services are in compliance with local laws and professional guidelines, safeguarding both the coach and the client.

6. How should a coaching contract handle dispute resolution?

A coaching contract should handle dispute resolution by outlining a structured process for addressing and resolving conflicts that may arise during the coaching engagement. This could include steps such as direct communication to resolve misunderstandings, mediation through a third party if necessary, and arbitration as a last resort. Having a predefined dispute resolution mechanism helps prevent conflicts from escalating and ensures they are handled in a professional and constructive manner.

7. Why is it important to specify the duration of the coaching agreement?

Specifying the duration of the coaching agreement is important because it sets clear expectations for the length of the coaching relationship. It helps manage the client’s and coach’s expectations regarding the commitment required to achieve the coaching goals and allows for planning and assessment of progress within a defined timeframe. This clarity helps both parties focus on achieving the objectives within the agreed period.

8. How can a coaching contract ensure compliance with professional ethics and standards?

A coaching contract can ensure compliance with professional ethics and standards by explicitly stating the ethical guidelines and professional standards the coach agrees to uphold during the coaching engagement. This may include references to codes of ethics issued by professional coaching organizations, such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Incorporating these standards into the contract reaffirms the coach’s commitment to integrity, confidentiality, and the highest professional conduct, fostering trust and respect in the coaching relationship.

About Simply.Coach

Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.  

About the author
Content Specialist  @Simply.Coach

Jayashree Mukherjee is a content specialist by day and a content junkie (on OTT) by night. Passionate about traveling, street food and overturning the underuse of em dashes — she would have been a globe-trotter if she hadn’t been so lazy.

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