Coaching and Contracting

5 things you and your Coach can contract on.

OK, we don’t necessarily mean the “legal” contract that you might have with your Coach, which might describe the financial transaction – although that might exist too.

What we are talking about is a different type of contracting – the contract between 2 human beings – the one that describes how you will work together. 

In the professional coaching world, contracting is in place for a very good reason – to ensure that there is an understanding between you and your Coach about what is expected from you both.

It’s about what will happen whilst you are working together, and how the interactions will take place. 

Whether your coaching is a half hour conversation or a 6-month programme, it is important that you both know what to expect from the relationship.


The number one contracting subject is, without doubt or question, the one of confidentiality.

Your Coach will provide you with a safe space where you know that your privacy will be respected. Nothing will be shared outside of that room. That’s the deal.

There are a couple of fairly clear exceptions though, usually around these areas:

  • Where the coach believes that your mental health puts you or others at risk
  • Where your actions have been illegal and as a consequence might bring your employer into disrepute
  • Where you agree with your coach that they can share something, perhaps anonymously, and sometimes publicly.


What you are hoping the outcome will be, so that the Coach knows where to keep the attention and focus on. Objectives might and do change during a Coaching programme, for many different reasons, mainly though because a client is hiding something that they later reveal as the real thing they want coaching on, and it’s only when the trust is there that they can reveal the real issue.


How often, and for how long will you meet with your Coach.

How much notice for change will you have to give your Coach – usually 24-48 hours minimum notice required to cancel or postpone without incurring costs, but every contract is different. 

It is important to have these conversations up front and honestly. 


Your Coach will almost certainly ask your permission to be able to share feedback with you about what they are observing about your behaviour, your language and your own observations and reflections on situations.

Feedback given in this way will help you grow and develop.

Feedback shared with you by your Coach should always be with the optimum positive regard for you as a human being, and with complete positive intent. Are you happy with that? 


What boundaries do you both want in place? 

  • Are there areas you definitely don’t want your Coach to get you talking about? 
  • Do you have issues with timekeeping? Does your Coach? 
  • Can you swear? Is it OK to?
  • Is crying OK? Will you look stupid? 
  • Can you talk about home life even if your boss is paying for the coaching? 
  • Can you reasonably expect a return call if you text your Coach at 10pm on a Friday? 

Why you must spend time contracting with your Coach 

There are lots of reasons why early contracting is worth the time and effort, here’s a few: 

  1. Contracting on objectives means that you’re more likely to meet them.
  2. Having a contract between you both ensures you can speak openly and honestly and know it will be treated with respect, sensitivity, empathy and confidentiality.
  3. Contracting means fewer conflicts and less frustration, creating less distraction as you work together.

Useful Links

You might also be interested in our article about Feedback here: 6 Feedback Tips for Coaches

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Coach contracting




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