The ICF Code of Ethics requires a clear agreement or contract, and the agreement is a tool for establishing, maintaining, and ending a coaching relationship. In ICF-approved coach training, examples of agreements are often provided.
When there is both a sponsor (the company or person paying the coach), and a client (the individual being coached), it makes sense to have two agreements – one with each. The sponsor’s agreement details services provided, the scope of work, release of information, and fees. The client’s agreement details process, roles, confidentiality, and scheduling. When the coach is working directly with an individual and they are paying for the coaching services, the client agreement covers fees too.
Because the agreement defines the role of the coach and the role of the client, it is a tool for understanding the relationship. A coaching agreement is a tool for starting and continuing the coaching relationship with a clear understanding of the responsibilities of both the coach and the client. The coaching agreement also creates an awareness of the purpose for the coaching and the value of continuing or completing the relationship.
The coaching agreement does ideally refer to or link with the ICF Code of Ethics. Additionally some coaches provide a printed or electronic copy of the ICF Code of Ethics.
A coach will provide the agreement, discuss it, and make changes as appropriate for the client.