ICF Core Competency: Setting the Foundation – Establishing the Coaching Agreement

The second point under Setting the Foundation is Establishing a Coaching Agreement

2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement—Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship.

  1. Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (e.g., logistics, fees, scheduling, inclusion of others if appropriate).
  2. Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client’s and coach’s responsibilities.
  3. Determines whether there is an effective match between his/her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client.

Retrieved from ICF Core Coaching Competencies.

Establishing a clear coaching agreement at the beginning of a coaching relationship is very critical so that coach and client know what to expect and what’s included vs. what’s excluded.  Ground rules for sessions are set down.

When there is a three-way relationship, that is, one involving a sponsor, client, and coach, then clarifying the agreement becomes even more important to avoid issues. The sponsor is typically the superior of the client that engages or sponsors the coaching program for the client.  The client is the person being coached or is the “coachee.”  The coach must ensure that both the sponsor and client know the ground rules on confidentiality and agree with them.  That is, what if any matters discussed by the client with the coach will be shared with the sponsor.

From experience, it helps to have the client initiate and have periodic conversations/updates with her superior so that the accountability for deciding what to share and how remains with the client.

To see examples of coaching agreements, visit these links below. You can find more examples by googling the keywords “coaching agreement.”

Coaching Agreement Example 1
Coaching Agreement Example 2
Coaching Agreement Example 3
Coaching Agreement Example 4

Click here to see the 11 ICF Core Coaching Competencies in this blog.

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