An agreement for a coaching relationship is called for in both the Code of Ethics and the Core Competencies of a coach from the International Coaching Federation, ICF.
An agreement happens in three phases:
- An initial conversation with a client on what coaching is and is not. This often occurs in an exploratory phone call, networking, or when a sponsor provides coaching for employees. This conversation draws on what is discussed in the first webinar of the Certified Professional Coach program.
- A formal agreement for a coaching engagement. In the majority of countries this is a written agreement and where a written agreement is an insult then a formal verbal agreement is used. The Code of Ethics does note specific points to address. Graduates of the Certified Professional Coach program have five different examples on the coach login page.
- An agreement every single coaching session on what the client wants to focus on, their agenda, their measure of success, and what accomplishing what they want in the session means to them. There are at least four questions toward the beginning of the conversation coaches ask to establish the agreement for the session.
Co-creating an agreement with a client serves the client in terms of clarity on the coaching: process, roles and responsibilities, and what to expect. It serves the coach in terms of clarity on the partnership and how to best partner in service to the client. Agreement serves the relationship as guard rails and a guide.
Coach training is an opportunity to explore the conversation used in phase 1, gain examples for formal agreements used in phase 2, and practice establishing the agreement for a session as done for phase 3.