Before beginning coaching sessions, the coach and the client agree to the nature of the relationship, the boundaries, the time commitment, fees, and confidentiality among other salient points.
This may begin in a free, introductory session where the coach asks the client about their understanding of the coaching process. If a sponsor is hiring the coach, there may be an orientation for the client. Often coaches simply have the conversation when establishing the relationship.
There is value for both the client and the coach in exploring how coaching would benefit the client and how they will measure the success of the relationship. Much of this seems to be about understanding and is; in the second blog post of this series, the focus of understanding is the coach understanding the client.
Professional coaches have a written agreement they sign with their clients prior to the first coaching session. The International Coaches Federation publishes a sample agreement with keys points covering:
* Length of the Relationship
* Ground Rules
* Client Responsibility
* Nature of the Relationship
* Coaching is Not Mental Health – Seek Outside Mental Health Care
* Coach Not a Substitute for Other Professional Advice
A written agreement embodies commitment to coaching and provides understanding for a solid foundation to understanding and building rapport.