Your Coaching Contract

Article by Aileen Gibb

The first IAC Mastery requires the coach to establish a relationship with each
client that: “ensures a safe space and supportive relationship for
personal growth, discovery and transformation.

The day before I sit down to write this column, I hear the story of a coach
who focused so much on what was wrong that the client felt belittled and intimidated.
In order to cope within the coaching conversation, the client resorted to listening
only and letting the coach have his say. As a result there was no opportunity
for growth, discovery or transformation for the client. Obviously this was not
an IAC Masteries coach and it is disappointing to still hear such stories.

One of the first tools a masterly coach needs is a good contract with each
client. As a coach you can access examples of good coaching contracts on-line,
from your coaching body or from other coaches. Consider, however, that an effective
contract with your client is not an off-the-shelf one which you impose on every
client. An effective contract is one which can be customized to accommodate
the needs of your client, and is one that reflects who you are as a
coach. A great contract establishes and sustains a relationship that serves
you both well.

Have you paused lately to review your coaching contract and ask how well it
serves your relationship with your client? Have you ever thought to take it
further and consider how well it serves your relationship with yourself?

Yes, your coaching contract is for you as well as for your client. First and
foremost, it serves as your inner compass, in addition to guiding your outer
responses to your client’s needs. How often do you do a “contract
review” with yourself to check how well you are living up to it? Does
your contract illuminate when you might be off track in your intentions as a
coach? Does it remind you how to get back to your focus on the path to mastery?

Here are some questions to hold in one hand, while you review your contract
in the other. Does your coaching contract:

  • Remind you of why you coach? What intentions and purpose you bring to your
  • Inspire and reflect your own continued learning and growth, personally and
  • Enable you to discover more about yourself and pay attention to insights,
    which provide vital energy to sustain you in your work?
  • Provide signals to alert you when you may not be coaching to your full potential?
  • Create an opportunity for you to track results, gather feedback and provide confirmation that you are inspiring quality in your coaching and not just quantity?
  • Open you up to feedback, and provide a means for your client to question
    or challenge your approach, which may be vital to knowing whether your clients are getting value from their experience with you?

My colleague, Ian Wallace, is an expert in the unconscious behaviours that
drive success. His work reveals that what happens inside us is reflected in
what happens outside. As Coaches, our journey to success starts within: knowing
our inner self and understanding how we reflect ourselves into our work with
clients. The coach in my opening story was less attentive to this. Ian’s
seminal work with The Archegyre, taught me that the word “contract,”
when looked at as a verb, also means to make smaller. If our inner contract
makes us smaller with ourselves, then it is bound to make our relationship with
our clients smaller too.

The opposite of “contract” is to “amplify.” When we
amplify our own inner coach, we in turn amplify both our relationship with our
clients and the results they achieve.

Aileen Gibb


Gibb is a Master Certified Coach with the IAC who coaches leaders
around the globe and inspires great results in her clients. She partners
with Ian Wallace, to illuminate the unconscious patterns of behaviour
that enable greater results and success. You can find out more about
their work at

Scroll to Top

IAC Login