Professional coaches and consultants have to hold a consulting agreement with clients before moving forward with service provision. This is one of the most important interactions because it will determine all other aspects of working together.
A well-written consulting or coaching agreement ensures easy conflict resolution and standardized problem addressing. Consulting agreements need to feature a couple of important protections. The International Coach Federation highlights a few of the essentials and today, we’ll take a deeper look at them.
Standard consulting agreements highlight the responsibilities of the client as a part of the relationship.
Such contracts state that coaching and consulting are not the same as going to a psychologist or a therapist. There will be no diagnosis or treatment of an underlying mental condition. In addition, the client understands that they will be responsible for incorporating different coaching principles in relevant aspects of their life – relationship, finances, professional development, education, etc.
Fees, Expenses and Payment Clause:
A consultant agreement should state clearly how much services will cost, whether clients could anticipate additional fees, and how the payment is going to be made.
This section could also feature a detailed schedule or a calendar of the session that will occur. The length of each meeting with the coach or consultant should be outlined so that both parties have a clear idea of the scope and duration of interactions.
A Confidentiality Clause:
Standard coaching and consulting agreements also feature a confidentiality clause. Good ethical practices necessitate the provision of such an article in the agreement.
All of the information shared between coach and client will remain confidential during and after the completion of the sessions. While relationships between coaches and clients are not considered legally confidential in the US, ethical practices established by coaching/consulting organizations necessitate the maintenance of privacy.
The confidentiality clause should also highlight when a breach of confidentiality may occur (for example, in the case of illegal activity on behalf of the client that has to be reported to authorities).
How exactly will coaching or consulting services be provided to the client? Face-to-face communication is no longer required in order to ensure the best possible outcome.
A coaching agreement should stipulate the manner in which clients will be given access to their sessions. Will consulting always take place in person? Will there be over the phone, online, or video chat sessions?
Depending on the communication medium chosen, additional terms and conditions may be introduced to ensure both the privacy and efficiency of the communication.
Cancellation and Termination Provisions:
It’s also a standard practice for coaching/consulting contracts to list cancellation and termination clauses.
Usually, clients can end their relationship with a consultant at any time. This part of the agreement will highlight the situations that enable a consultant to terminate the relationship with the client. Having a client missing multiple meetings, for example, could be reason enough for contract termination.
Speaking to a legal professional is always a good idea when considering protections to include in a consulting agreement. A tailored, personalized document is the one that will offer the highest level of security and ease of overcoming hurdles.