You’re pouring into your community on a regular basis. Sharing value, providing insight & guidance. Talk about a super coach! But with all of this, as with any business, comes risk. So, Coach, what are you doing to protect yourself?
Take it from me: Providing professional coaching services without a written & signed agreement is a recipe for disaster. You owe it to your community to protect them & their communications from being revealed to outsiders. You’ve got to protect your content & intellectual property from being infringed upon. You need to have measures in place that protect you from personal liability. And you’ve got to make sure that you are compensated for your services.
Without a clear understanding of the relationship & a solid written agreement in place (& signed by all parties), you’re putting yourself, your business, & your community members at risk.
In my work with online coaches I’ve identified 5 contracts you must have if
you want to build a solid & long-lasting coaching business that will continue to serve you and allow you to serve others for years to come.
Keep reading to learn more & figure out what you need to do to create peace of mind for yourself within your business.
1-on-1 Coaching Agreement
Whether you’re providing ongoing private coaching sessions or one-off intensives, you need to make it clear in writing (keyword here) what services will be rendered, how, when, where, & in exchange for what (typically some type of compensation). It’s also important to make sure no guarantees are made as to results that may or may not be achieved. After all, coaches are there to provide guidance & insight, but can’t do the work for the person receiving the coaching.
Clearly stating the scope of the services to be rendered is SO important. This goes for both 1-on-1 and group coaching programs. Without a clear understanding, clients may (sometimes unintentionally) demand services & time that are outside the scope of the services you intended to provide.
Communication and mutual agreement can help you to enforce your boundaries & protect your time.
Group Coaching/Mastermind Community Agreement(s)
In a group coaching setting, it’s vital to ensure that all parties agree to maintain confidentiality within the coaching community. I’ve worked with clients that operate these communities & I’ve been a part of them myself. Members get really personal & share information about their businesses that they would not otherwise share publicly. Including a confidentiality provision in your agreement is non-negotiable.
Another non-negotiable clause to include in your coaching agreement is one outlining the payment schedule (if the client is on a periodic payment plan). Don’t forget to state what happens should the client fail to make payment or if their card is declined when payment is due. There should also be a credit card authorization signed by the client so that you can charge their card when the time comes.
If it’s not a good fit, the client may decide they no longer want to receive
services. So, what’s your refund or cancellation policy? That’s something else that should be clearly stated & agreed to.
Independent Contractor Agreement
As your coaching biz grows (woohoo!!!) you may bring on team members on a contractor basis. After all, you can’t (& shouldn’t) do it all. #ittakesavillage
Perhaps this is in the form of a VA (virtual assistant), OBM (online business
manager), junior coach, copywriter, etc. Just like any other business relationship you enter into, it’s important to ensure that the terms of the relationship are reduced to writing & are agreed to so that you can avoid disputes and/or misunderstandings later on.
If there is a dispute that occurs in the course of the business relationship, how is it resolved? And where is it resolved? Will you have to travel to their county (or state) to settle a matter? If you don’t agree to these terms early on, then you may find yourself in a legal issue that consumes far too much of your time, money, & energy.
Bonus: Podcast Guest Agreement
Many coaches find that a podcast is the perfect platform for them to share their content, thoughts, & conversations with other industry professionals. If you host guest speakers on your podcast, in your private Facebook community, or on your member site, protect yourself & your ability to use that recording/audio content by having a written agreement with your guest.
This blogpost does not cover every clause that should be included in your contracts; however, it gives you an idea of the contracts you do need to have in place prior to beginning to offer coaching services. Having a legal professional assist you in the drafting of these agreements can provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your contracts are solid & enforceable, freeing up your time & energy so that you can better serve your clients & continue to grow your business.
As your business grows, it will also transform. Be sure to schedule a meeting with your attorney on a regular basis to review these agreements & confirm that they are up-to-date, enforceable, & adequately protecting your business & yourself.
Are you ready to protect your brand & secure your business’ intellectual property rights? If so, schedule a Brand Protection Discovery Call with me today. We will spend time discussing the current state of your brand protection, identify your intellectual property assets, & discuss the game plan needed for you to protect what’s yours moving forward. I look forward to speaking with you.
Note: This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice or if you would like to schedule a call with our office in order to best protect yourself & your business, you can do so here.