How to Write a Life Coaching Agreement in 6 Easy Steps

How to Write a Life Coaching Agreement in 6 Easy Steps

Your life coaching agreement is the foundation for all your client relationships. As a service provider, you need to define the terms of your engagement and lay out the agreement terms for your client to ensure alignment throughout your collaboration.

Luckily, you only have to do this once; if you have a solid coaching agreement, you can use it as a template for all your future clients.

Let’s define what a coaching agreement is, how it’s different from your coaching contract, and how you can write it step by step.

Why is a Coaching Agreement Important?

A written agreement between you and the client is essential to set clear expectations and boundaries for your relationship. It makes both of your responsibilities clear for the coaching process to be successful.

By outlining the scope of your services and the terms you’re working with, you can avoid misunderstandings, build trust, and demonstrate professionalism. A set agreement for all your coaching engagements also helps you streamline and structure your services.

Agreement vs Contract: What’s the Difference?

Both life coaching agreements and contracts outline the expectations, responsibilities, and boundaries in a coach-client relationship. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to slightly different concepts.

An agreement typically establishes the methods, outcomes, and timeframe of the coaching relationship. It’s most commonly established through a written proposal and sent in an email following a discovery session. It aligns expectations and puts the terms discussed in writing to ensure you and your client are on the same page.

[ Read: Land More Clients with This Step-By-Step Coaching Proposal Template ]

On the other hand, a life coaching contract is a legally binding document. It goes into the most minor details of the partnership, including its cancellation policy, confidentiality, and payment terms.

A contract emphasizes legal obligations and consequences, so it’s typically written in extreme precision and detail, leaving no room for misunderstandings. It’s normally too long to be included in an email. Plus, it requires signatures from both parties to be binding, so it’s generally shared as a separate document and signed digitally.

Your coaching contract and agreement are important to onboarding a new client and should be treated separately.

What is the Purpose of a Coaching Agreement?

A client agreement aims to create mutual understanding between the coach and the client. It aligns expectations and puts the terms discussed in writing to ensure you and your client are on the same page.

Your agreement can also help clarify and summarize what’s in your contract in more easily understandable and structured terms. It presents the timeline, scope, and fees of the coaching collaboration in a few key points so that your client can see what they are agreeing to at a glance.

If you need guidance crafting your contract, head onto our guide explaining how it’s done, or use our free coaching contract template:

[ Read: How To Create A Life Coaching Contract From Scratch ]

Or, read on to see how a coaching agreement is made.

6 Things You Need to Include in a Life Coaching Agreement

6 Things You Need to Include in a Life Coaching Agreement

Here’s how to write a clear agreement for coaching engagements to serve as a foundation for client work.

Outline the Scope of the Partnership

First, clarify what you offer to your client. Describe the outcome of your coaching program or the objectives you agreed with your client to work toward.

This may be the same for all your clients or tailored to what a specific client approached you with. Even if this changes during your sessions, it gives clear direction for the collaboration and sets expectations for the client on what they will take away from working with you.

Specify the length and number of sessions included in your package and other supplementary coaching services you may offer. This may be chat support and accountability between the sessions or periodic assessment and evaluation.

This will pitch your program to your clients and help them decide whether they want to work with you. Make sure it’s succinct and aimed at the value you provide to your client.

Define the Timeline for Your Collaboration

Though often overlooked, a timeline for the coaching relationship is essential to make sure it won’t drag on and stays on track.

Without a clear timeframe, you may end up with too many sessions in the bank that prevent you from taking on new clients and reaching your income goals. Even if you were paid in full in advance, staying in limbo will create uncertainty and make it hard to manage your schedule.

Additionally, clients may go missing in action if your sessions have no expiry date and lose momentum in the process. This makes the coaching process inefficient and may hinder their progress.

The simple solution is to set a clear timeframe for your client collaboration.

If you’re facilitating a group coaching program, you should always share the full session schedule in advance. This way, your participants can decide in advance whether they can commit to it, and you won’t waste energy finding the best time for everyone each week.

If your program has a set schedule, you may offer session recordings and define how many sessions participants can miss.

If you coach one-on-one, set an expiry date for your sessions (even if you only offer one) and agree on the frequency of your meetings. For example, offering four sessions a month leaves enough room to match schedules with your client while keeping their coaching process on track.

Don’t forget to set your working hours so your client can plan with that. Paperbell makes it easy to set up custom coaching packages and manage your bookings within set hours.

Specify Your Client’s Responsibilities

For the coaching relationship to be successful, your client must commit to certain things and put in the effort to change. Ensure they know what’s expected of them before signing with you.

This may be filling out intake forms and assessments or dedicating time to self-study in between their sessions with you. Many coaching relationships fail because the coach doesn’t define the time their busy CEO and single mom clients need to put in every week for their process to work.

It’s best to give a heads-up about the exact deliverables, optional reading, and approximate time required from the people you’re working with. If you have an offboarding process, mention it too so your client won’t vanish after your last session without filling out your feedback survey.

Lay Out Your Terms

Although your contract will contain all the intricate details of your coaching partnership, it’s worth summarizing its main points for your client. Your cancellation and termination policy comes into mind, as well as any other terms you feel are important to highlight or clarify.

Keep your summary brief unless you share your client agreement as a separate PDF document. Translate legal jargon into more plain language to make sure your client fully understands the terms you’re working with and how they apply to them.

Sum Up Your Fees

Next, it’s time to talk money. At the very least, your agreement should mention how much your services will cost your client in total.

Optionally, you can provide a breakdown of your fees if your client is signing up for multiple services and present various pricing options if they’re still deciding between different tiers of your program. For example, you may charge a base fee for your package and sell your course or monthly group coaching sessions as an add-on.

If your coaching package has a set fee, it’s unnecessary to break it down to price per session or hour. Treat it as a single coaching process with a well-defined outcome and emphasize all the value it offers.

Last but not least, specify the due date for your payments. We always recommend charging upfront for your packages or setting up installments due at the beginning of each phase of your program. This will ensure your client is committed to their coaching work and that you get paid on time without tedious follow-up emails.

Paperbell makes this super easy to set up. It’s a payment-first client management platform, meaning clients must settle their outstanding payments before booking their next session with you.

Set the Next Steps

Lastly, let your clients know what to do if they decide to work with you.

If you use Paperbell, all this will take is sending them a single link to your page. There, they can read through your contract, sign it digitally, book their first session with you, and access the materials in your package immediately—without you lifting a finger.

Additionally, encourage your prospects to reach out to you with any questions they might have about the agreement. This allows you to handle objections or, in rare cases, modify your terms to get on the same page.

Overall, keep the language of your agreement concise and easily understandable while adding some personal touch to it.

While a coaching agreement can serve as a point of reference in case of a legal dispute, it isn’t binding in the same sense as a signed contract.

The primary purpose of a client agreement is to create mutual understanding between you and the client. It may outline the terms and conditions of the coaching relationship, including your responsibilities as a life coach and the payment terms.

Some aspects of your agreement may have legal implications depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances of your case. If you onboard a client without an official contract, any written agreement between you and the client will be the next best basis for settling disagreements. However, it’s better not to coach without a contract to avoid such cases.

In a nutshell, an agreement primarily focuses on facilitating a productive coaching process rather than serving as a formal legal contract.

How to Establish a Coaching Agreement

Let’s look at how to establish a step-by-step agreement with a coaching client.

1. Have Your Contract Ready

If you don’t have a coaching contract, head to our guide and free template to create your own. Once it’s done, you’ll need a way to get it digitally signed and store it safely for each client.

Uploading your contract to Paperbell is a great way to do that. This way, you can point your client to a single link where they can add their signature to the document, settle their payment, and book their first session with you immediately.

You’ll have all your client profiles, notes, payment records, and contracts organized in your Paperbell account that you can always refer back to, even years down the line.

2. Lay Out Your Agreement Terms

Next, write an email template that specifies the details we’ve gone through above, namely:

  • The scope of your coaching program, i.e., what it includes (and what it doesn’t),
  • The time frame of the coaching relationship,
  • Your client’s responsibilities,
  • The summary of your key contract terms,
  • Your fees, when they’re due, and how to pay them, and
  • Instructions on how your client can sign your agreement (which can simply be a link to your Paperbell account).

To break through writer’s block, you can always ask ChatGPT or a similar AI tool with a well-defined prompt to write an email template you can tweak.

If your agreement is too long for a concise email, you can attach it separately in PDF.

3. Follow Up

If you don’t hear back from your client in 3-5 business days, a gentle nudge is appropriate to follow up on their decision and whether they have questions for you.

If they do reach out with some concerns, you can iron out any fuzzy details and tweak your agreement slightly to accommodate their preferences. Only you know how much you’re willing to compromise to land a new client without sacrificing your standards.

If you notice you’re receiving repetitive questions from potential clients, it’s your clue to clarify your agreement or contract terms.

4. Seal the Deal

Once you and your client have signed your coaching contract, you officially have a new coachee. Congrats!

Note that anything your contract doesn’t mention will not be fully binding. However, you can always refer to your agreement with your client to reinforce the terms you discussed.

In the meantime, set up your first session and get coaching!

Streamline Your Client Onboarding With Paperbell

Running a life coaching business has some crucial aspects that you can’t skip, and they can take valuable time away from coaching your clients.

Paperbell helps you automate administrative duties to schedule more sessions and focus on client work.

It’s an all-in-one client management tool designed for coaches and their unique needs. Paperbell stores and signs your client contracts digitally, issues your payments, manages your schedule, and more.

Try Paperbell for free with your first client.

How to Write a Life Coaching Agreement in 6 Easy Steps
By Annamaria Nagy
Annamaria Nagy is a Brand Identity Coach and Copywriter. She's been writing for over 10 years about topics like personal development, coaching, and business. She was previously the Head of SEO at the leading transformational education company, Mindvalley.
March 29, 2024

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