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CIP Establishing the Coaching Agreement

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>> Hello there. In this lecture, you'll learn how to establish the coaching agreement and what should be included. If you have any questions, be sure to write them down so you can ask them on the next group call and receive live mentoring and support. Okay, so let's talk about the coaching agreement. This can be defined as a mutual understanding with the client about what the coaching process will be. The coaching agreement is something you'll need to establish with every client you work with. This should be done before you start working together. The coaching agreement outlines five main factors of the coach-client relationship. What is required in a specific coaching interaction between the coach and client, the unique responsibilities of both the coach and client, the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship, what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, as well as what is and is not being offered in the program. This is a lot of ground to cover. So how do you accomplish this? While the easiest way to capture all of this is in a document like a client agreement or a contract that outlines the terms of your coaching, you'll still need to have a conversation with each client to make sure they understand what it is they're signing. Assuming that they've read all the fine print and have interpreted it correctly is not sufficient. Plus, coaching is a partnership. And as such, you want to co-create this agreement with your client so that they feel valued and honored in the process. This is very different than handing someone a contract to sign. The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching, the NBHWC, and the International Coach Federation, the ICF, recommend that you start out by asking the client a few questions. This in itself will introduce the client the uniqueness of coaching, particularly that they will be providing their best ideas and solutions. As a coach, you'll want to ask questions like, "What do you know about coaching? Have you ever experienced coaching before? What was it like? And what are you hoping to achieve by working with a Health Coach?" You'll learn a lot by the answers to these questions. This opens up the floor for your client to share what he or she thinks coaching is and what they're expecting to experience. You'll get a glimpse into whether they're familiar and experienced with the process, in which case you can confirm or adjust their expectations. Or they may have no idea what to expect and will look to you to describe what the experience is like. For these instances where a client is new to coaching, it's helpful to prepare an elevator speech about coaching. Now this is a way of summarizing the main points of what coaching is and isn't in a powerful sentence or two. Your points should align with professional definitions of coaching. This isn't about making up what coaching means to you. But it's a way of highlighting your key processes and a few words that feel natural to you and really represent the work that you do as a coach. I have several of these elevator speeches. When putting one together, it can be helpful to make a T chart of what stands out to you the most about what coaching is and isn't and then string that together into a short narrative that resonates right for you. Generally, I like to make the point that coaching is a supportive alliance. It's not therapy, and it's not just like a talk with your best friend. It's important for me to let clients or prospective clients know upfront that coaching is a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires people to really maximize their personal and professional potential. Here's another favorite elevator speech. "Coaching is not therapy. It is not consulting, advising, mentoring, nor teaching. As your coach, my intention is to facilitate a process of discovery for you where insights are seen and your inherent strengths and values are identified and enhanced. This perpetuates the growth and change you would like to see in your life. In short, my purpose is to fan the flames of change in your life to help you improve health and well-being." This example clearly explains what coaching is and isn't and the process and roles that the client should expect. Now think about what your elevator speech about coaching might sound like. We'll be asking you to share yours when we connect live this week, so we want to get you inspired to create your own quick definition. To help you, let's take a look at some official definitions of health coaching. The NBHWC states, "Health and wellness coaches partner with clients seeking self-directed, lasting changes aligned with their values, which promote health and wellness and, thereby, enhance well-being. In the course of their work, health and wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change and honor that each client is an expert on his or her life, while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and nonjudgmental." That was a long one. Here's a more concise definition put out by the International Coaching Federation or ICF. "Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential." Which one do you like better? Keeping these two definitions and the two examples of coaching elevator speeches in mind, pause here and jot down some of your own ideas on what your elevator speech might sound like. Don't worry about it being perfect now. The goal is to get your thoughts down on paper and then take some time this week to refine it. Great! All right, let's go back to this five factors of the coaching agreement and unpack them a bit. First, what is required in the specific coaching interaction between the coach and the client? There are requirements to consider that are more on the surface level like, "What is your attendance and cancellation policy? Will there be homework and what are you required to do for them? Are there any commitments you stand by, such as a courtesy reminder the day before an appointment or a follow-up email with session notes?" Take some time to define the requirements for yourself and your clients in your coaching program. There are also deeper, more experiential requirements. For example, you'll want to let all clients know that coaching will often require them to take a realistic look at the barriers and self-imposed limitations they're up against when going after something they want, especially if they failed in the past. Now this will undoubtedly push their buttons, they should expect this to happen. The coach's job is to try to stretch them a bit outside of their comfort zone to overcome some of these self-limiting beliefs and outdated notions and assumptions. It's also important that your clients communicate with you about the process. A client should be able to freely and comfortably give feedback to his or her coach. A good coach depends on that feedback to improve the experience from session to session. So you want to let your clients know that it's okay to tell you if they feel like they're being pushed too far or if the pace is too fast. They also need to let you know if your style is too confrontational or just the opposite, not in your face enough, and what they would prefer. Having the right fit is important. It's important to have these conversations early on because not every client is a fit for every coach. Just as you have certain friends you get along better with, there will be certain clients you just happen to click with, and things are much smoother. It's not realistic to think you can be a great match for every client you connect with, but you can grow in your coaching skills, learn to be flexible with your style of coaching, and adapt to the client's pace, language, energy, and degree of openness. Next, both the coach and the client have unique roles and responsibilities. For starters, the coach has the responsibility to always maintain a professional code of ethics and stay within his or her scope of practice. This entails being honest and supportive from day one. And this includes taking responsibility for broaching the discussion about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not. This can feel uncomfortable for some coaches as they feel like they're being confrontational. It can feel awkward at first, but it's super important. Defining roles and responsibilities is critical for setting up expectations. The coach is primarily a guide and a source of support. And the client is the one who holds the true answers and the one who takes action. Some clients have unrealistic expectations about what coaching is or what they'll get out of the process. These are the clients who expect you to do the work for them or show up and say, "Just give me a meal plan." They think they'll be spoon-fed information about what to eat, how to exercise, and how to reduce stress. Now that's not to say that you can't touch on those specifics in your work together, but it's more than talking about smoothies and nutrients and the importance of exercise. Coaching is different from health education, and we can't stress that enough. The entire premise of coaching is that adults rarely follow through with all the good advice and information they receive when it comes to the hard work of improving health habits. That's why they're seeing a coach. They've come to the conclusion that they need help to go about achieving their desired goals. What they've been doing has failed them. So it's your responsibility from day one to let the client know that leading the way, doing the work, and achieving the results is their responsibility. This will save you both a lot of aggravation in the long run. An analogy that I like to use with my clients to drive the point home is this, I say, "Imagine you hired a personal trainer at the gym to help you get in shape. When you get tired, would you ask them to trade places and run on the treadmill for you so you could go across the street for a cup of coffee?" So when it comes to client responsibilities, let them know that they're expected to honestly report what's on their mind. Their goals, challenges, limitations, obstacles, and strengths. Clients should share their goals fully and really express what matters. It's difficult to coach people who are reluctant to express themselves or share anything related to their goals. Explain to them that the more they share, the more you can support them. Also, clients need to keep appointments. They need to be honest too. Sometimes life gets in the way, but they have a responsibility to be courteous to you and to show up for their appointments and commitments and to let you know why or when they can't. Next, establishing the coaching agreement also requires spelling out all of the specific parameters of your work together. This is all about the logistics of your coaching arrangement and easy to be understood and agreed upon before coaching begins. Now these are considerations like, "When and how will you meet? How long are the sessions? How many sessions? What is the cost of your program and what is your fee schedule? By this I mean will you collect payment upfront or every two three or six coaching sessions? May others be present during a coaching session such as a family member or significant other? What else is in the agreement?" The more the client understands the specific parameters of your coaching relationship, the smoother the process and the more successful the outcome will be. Next, let's talk about what to consider in terms of what is and isn't appropriate in the relationship. Beyond the obvious things like appropriate personal conduct, it's important to explain to clients what is acceptable within the safe space that is your coaching relationship. You may want to let clients know that it's okay to cry or to say whatever is on their mind without fear of feeling judged. In summary, this factor is about defining boundaries. And finally, you'll want to define what is and isn't offered in your program. This will also help you to create boundaries for yourself while keeping client expectations in check. For example, do you provide email support in between sessions? Do you provide resources and handouts? Are there add-ons to your program like a private Facebook group, a pantry makeover, or a tour of the grocery store? This is also a great opportunity to further define your scope of practice to create realistic expectations. For example, if you're not also a certified nutrition professional, you'll want to stay away from making meal plans for clients. And if you're not a personal trainer, it's outside of your lane to assign clients exercise routines. So if that's the case, you'll want to let your clients to know that you're not going to be supplying them with meal plans and workout regimens so they know what to expect. We encourage you to make a list of what you do offer as well as some things that you don't offer but clients may mistakenly want from a Health Coach. That way, you'll be prepared for these conversations. It's better to take the initiative to spell out exactly what you do and don't offer than to risk signing a client who ends up being disappointed and leaves feeling ripped off or misinformed. So to recap what you learned in this lecture, the coaching agreement is an understanding between the coach and the client about what exactly is required in that specific coaching interaction, the unique responsibilities of both the coach and client, the guidelines and parameters of the coaching relationship, what is and is not appropriate, and what is and is not offered in the program. The coaching agreement should be established before your coaching program with a client begins and discussed explicitly so your clients can ask questions and develop appropriate expectations and boundaries from the start. You can put all of this in writing in a letter or agreement for your clients to read over and then go through it with them section by section to discuss. We discussed the considerations to include in your coaching agreement and got you started thinking about your own personal elevator speech to describe what coaching is so you always have a concise summary on hand. We'll be discussing the coaching agreement further on one of your live calls this week. If you have any questions, we'll open up the line for you to ask them there. You can also ask your questions on the course Facebook group page. Thanks for tuning in and bye for now.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 15
Posted by: ninaz on Aug 28, 2019

CIP Establishing the Coaching Agreement

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