Hey all you coaches, consultants, group mastermind leaders…..guess what? YOU, too, need a contract…and, nope, you do not want to use a mishmashed FrankenContract that you’ve stitched together by cutting and pasting the results of what you’ve googled on the internet.

Miscommunication means TROUBLE when it comes to coaching or consulting

Coaching, consulting, masterminding are all newish industries and ripe with the possibility of miscommunication. And, miscommunication always means trouble! And, as the coach or consultant, it’s up to you to set the expectations and the boundaries of these transactions.

Here’s a fun fact!  I, too, am a business coach and I love this work so much! Here’s what I’ve learned:  Coaching is a newer industry and plenty of people think it’s not legit.  Whatever!  They are wrong!  I personally strongly believe in the benefits coaching can offer. However, there are plenty of ways the coach / client relationship can take a quick, sharp and fatal nosedive.  So, this post is meant to help you avoid that!

Here are some rules to live by if you are a coach or consultant or leading a mastermind group or online course.

Coaching, as an industry, is new and expectations aren’t clear until YOU define it for your client.

In my experience, coaching someone who has never been coached before, whether that’s on weight loss, fitness, “life” in general, business, relationships, money… can feel a little like the wild west until YOU define it for your client.  The newness of this industry is what makes it interesting, but, also, what makes it somewhat ripe for miscommunication.  Therefore, you, as a coach, cannot, MUST not, let the details go unsaid. It is up to you, and only you, to set those boundaries, expectations, and expected results for your client.

A comprehensive coaching contract will help set boundaries and legitimize your business.

Now, I know you might be thinking jeesh, contracts are so boring and so formal.  And, YES–you got it! They are boring and formal—a contract is a package of rules after all.  But, coaches…I invite you to shift your thinking (see what I am doing here) and appreciate what a good contract has to offer both you and your lovely client.  I also invite you to consider why you might be resistant to having a killer contract that outlines exactly what you are offering.  YOU deserve to feel serious about your work, YOU deserve to be taken seriously about your work. Your client deserves to know exactly what to expect when the hire you!  See—win-win, baby.

Here’s what you should have in your coaching or consulting contract.

  1. The purpose. Your contract should state the purpose of the coaching.  This could be uncovering limiting beliefs (my niche), goal setting (another of my niches) time management, abundance mindset and money, business strategy…you get it.  Explain the purpose!
  2. Client’s obligations. Here’s a doozy and yes—it’s so important. Your client won’t be likely to get the results they want if they aren’t taking the program or coaching sessions seriously.  And, guess who they might point their finger at when, in six months, they don’t have the results they want? You got it! YOU. So, set the ground rules. What do they need to do. Do they need to do thought work daily, do they need to document actions they are taking towards a goal, do they (god forbid) need to put those actions on a calendar and then follow the calendar?! Spell it out.
  3. Obviously, this one matters! You should have a payment schedule, or have them pay up front, or automatic charge to a credit card. You decide the how, but make sure you explain how and when you will invoice and when payment is due after they receive the invoice.
  4. Rescheduling or cancellation – You want to show some flexibility, but also, you need to set a firm cut off time for when a client will still be charged even if they cancelled or missed the session.  Having firm boundaries around this encourages the client to take the program or your 1:1 coaching seriously.
  5. The specifics services you will provide. Explain your process, timelines, and what results the client can expect.
  6. Refund policy. Avoid the stress by addressing it NOW. Under what conditions is a client allowed a refund?  When do they have to request it?
  7. On yes, the CYA part…Super important!!  You need to be upfront about your qualifications.  You are not a therapist, you are not a doctor, you are not an accountant, you are not a lawyer (except, I am a lawyer…and a coach, which complicates this for me but that’s MY problem).  Make sure you say explain your certifications and qualifications and limitations, as well.

Listen, you don’t have to write your own contract, have a lawyer do this for you. This will give you confidence, and it will make you feel great about taking care of yourself and your lovely clients.


Wick Law, LLC is a small business legal practice, representing owners, investors, and entrepreneurs in all aspects of commercial, corporate, and business law, estate planning, contracts and negotiations, business litigation, and real estate. For more information: Contact 614-572-6366, visit www.mwicklaw.com, or email us at mwick@mwicklaw.com.  Wick Law, LLC is located in Columbus, Ohio.

(Materials in this article have been prepared by Wick Law, LLC for general informational purposes only. This list is for educational purposes and is not to be considered exhaustive. More items could be added to this checklist based upon the type of transaction or industry standards. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information provided is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wick Law, LLC or any of the firm’s lawyers. This checklist is not an offer to represent you. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information in this checklist. Wick Law, LLC maintains offices in Columbus, Ohio, and has lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio and in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The firm does not intend to practice law in any jurisdiction where the firm is not licensed.)


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