Core Coaching Documents
Coaching is a business and it is important that clients recognise that they are entering into a contractual relationship with the coach, as with any other services that they purchase. Having and completing appropriate documentation helps to underline the business nature of the relationship.
Coaching Terms of Reference and Proposals
One way of demonstrating professionalism and that the coach has understood the reason that the client requires business coaching, is to prepare a set of Terms of Reference (ToR). A ToR record plays an important role in clarifying client expectations and defining client needs and should be prepared after an initial meeting with the client wherever possible.
An effective ToR should also provide the basis of a detailed proposal and therefore the basis of a contractual agreement. It should contain information about the background of the client and the company, the objectives of the coaching, the scope, constraints and any other relevant information.
The ToR for client coaching programmes may change or evolve over time and therefore the ToR Record might need to be up-dated from time-to-time. It can be used in coaching sessions to re-visit the original agreed outcomes and decisions therefore helping to manage client expectations.
Terms of Business/Coaching Agreement
The Terms of Business and Coaching Agreement may be one document or two. One factor that will affect this is whether or not the person being coached is the same person that is paying for the business coaching service. If they are the same person, then one document should cover all of the relevant points. If they are two separate people, than two documents will be required as one person will need to commit to paying for the service and the other will need to commit to the ground rules and practical arrangements for the coaching.
Points to be covered regarding the terms of business include:
- Names of both parties
- Names of person to be coached
- Prices including details of which additional expenses will be reimbursed, for example travel expenses
- Payment terms
- Duration of agreement
- Cancellation terms
- Details of coaching to be provided: i.e. face to face, telephone or on-line, location of meetings, duration and frequency of meetings
Points to be covered regarding the coaching agreement include:
- Handling of potential conflict of interest between the needs of the person being coached and the needs of the person paying for the coaching
- Frequency, duration and location of sessions
- Arrangements for postponing or cancelling sessions, including charging arrangements (even if they are not paying, they need to be aware of these)
- Reference to the Code of Ethics
- Documentation to be used, for example action plans, coaching records, pre-meeting reports
- Methods of communication between sessions
- Commitment required of person being coached
Codes of Ethics
Most Codes of Ethics contain two components: an aspirational component and a set of rules or principles. The aspirational component usually provides an outline of what the coach aspires to, or the ideals to which the coach intends to adhere. An ethics code will typically list some rules or principles, which the coach and any other members of the coaching organisation are expected to adopt and implement.
In addition to being a powerful statement of professionalism and the standards that clients can expect, a Code of Ethics or a Code of Practice can help to address ethical dilemmas. An ethical dilemma typically occurs when there is a conflict between a decision or proposed action and key values or principles.
More information about Codes of Ethics can be found in High Growth Enterprise Coach Professional Behaviours: Ethical and Professional Practices.
It is essential that anyone undertaking business coaching holds appropriate professional indemnity insurance, which will pay out if a client makes a claim for business losses against a coach. As a High Growth Enterprise Coach will undertake one or more of the roles as outlined in the High Growth Enterprise Coach Competency Framework, it is important that the insurer is clear about which roles the coach will be undertaking as these may affect aspects of the policy. Somewhere within the contracting documentation, mention must be made of any appropriate disclaimers, as required by the provider of the insurance.
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