Coaching Ethics | Contracts and Coachability

This article was originally published October 2017, in the WorldWide Coaching Magazine.


Coaching Ethics: Contracts and Coachability

Let’s first focus on how an ethical coaching engagement begins. The International Coach Federation states this:

Establishing the Coaching Agreement—Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to an agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship.

  1. Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (e.g., logistics, fees, scheduling, the inclusion of others if appropriate).
  2. Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client’s and coach’s responsibilities.
  3. Determines whether there is an effective match between his/her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client.


Here are a few tools regarding forming contracts with clients:

I particularly like this piece from Alan Weiss. I (and hundreds of other coaches) have used his 9 point PDF to help do the groundwork for discovering what would make a successful coaching engagement.
View PDF: The Elements of a Consulting Proposal by Alan Weiss

To go one step further, Alan Weiss offers this free tool of Sample Proposals to Assist in Reorganization and Performance Appraisal.
View PDF: Sample Proposal Here

The next tool comes from FSTD and is geared toward Executive Coaching and working with C-Level personnel.
View PDF: Executive Coaching: The 8 Elements of a Successful Engagement

Hopefully, a quick read through the resources listed above will assist you in reviewing, affirming or adapting the way you craft your coaching contracts. Let’s now turn to the question of coachability. The sooner we determine a client’s coachability, the better off we are. Here is a list of articles and quizzes on the topic:

This Coachability Index from the ICF may prove valuable as you and your clients assess working together.
View Index: The International Coach Federation Coachability Index

Coaching is NOT the thing to throw at employees or to engage in yourself unless you are ready and willing. These 7 Warning Signs can help you decide when coaching is NOT appropriate.
How to recognize the signs: Seven Warning Signs Your Employee isn’t Coachable

Pete Quily, Adult ADHD Coach, posted this interesting quiz to help individuals determine their readiness for coaching.
Take the test: to discover if you Are You Coachable?

Finally, this Harvard Business Review article highlights the need for “capacity” and “commitment” prior to a coaching engagement. I found these points worth reading more than once.
Read the noteworthy report on: Is Your Employee Coachable?