One of the areas I often get questions around is "What type of client agreements should I create for
This is a great question on multiple levels, signaling several things you will want to put into place:
#1 - Ensuring a fit for your program or offering. These conversations are likely to start before your program begins, and you will know my affinity and recommendation about the importance of a pre-call 1-1 to get to know each client AND to also ensure that there is a fit. When in doubt, share any concerns with a client, and always remember that while we can coach most, we many not be everyone's best coach. Have a network of professionals you can refer others onto.
Note that sometimes it takes a few weeks for a client to really know if the program is a right fit for them. As group coaches we need to be aware of the provisions in the ICF Code of Ethics.
Section 9 of ICF Code of Ethics and the client's right to terminate the coaching relationship at any time. The way you handle refunds and closure is a key part of building trust as well as reputation within your work. For more on this, check out Section 9 of the ICF Code of Ethics on Coaching.
#2 Group Agreements - What are the group agreements which will make for a positive learning experience? Take time in your first session to co-create this together. While we would be more apt to specify group agreements in a mastermind or training process, given the high touch and high trust required with group coaching, it's recommended that the group spend time co-creating their agreements together.
We take a deeper dive into this topic during weeks 1 and 2 of the Group Coaching Essentials program, and also in the Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum, as it is a critical part of any coaching agreement.
#3 - Individual Coaching Plans - What is the individual coaching plans for each person? How is the client able to identify, map out and share his or her goals with you as the coach and/or with others in the group? Is there a dashboard for clients to work with, and share what they'd like? Is it done analog through a tool like the One Page Plan I share in Coaching Business Builder and PlanDoTrack? What is each person's individual coaching journey going to look like. Have them map it out.
Coaching Agreements are a critical part of the coaching process and it's important to note that in group coaching that individual group members are likely to be moving in different ways at different pace. Each group member is also going to need different levels of support to help them thrive.
#4 - Clarifying what you are offering and what COACHING IS, and COACHING IS NOT.
AT this moment in time, there is continued diffusion around what coaching really is in the marketplace. A reminder that group coaching is not training. Group Coaching is not advising. It is about helping each of your group members create new awareness about what they already know themselves, through questions, reflective pause and dialogue.
At this moment in time, it's useful to return back to your definition of what coaching is and how it aligns with the ICF definition of coaching.
If you are coaching a group, note that as much learning will happen with the engagements BETWEEN the group members as the engagements with the coach. Be sure to be leaving time for group members to have conversation themselves. A group coach should not always be the one leading the show - if so, it's likely not coaching, but training!
What other layers of agreements are important to put into place with your work?
Enjoy the conversation,
Jennifer Britton - Group Coaching Essentials | Effective Virtual Conversations | Potentials Realized
Instagram @Remote Pathways (for remote workers) and @CoachingBizBuilder (for coaches)
Author of Effective Group Coaching (2010), Coaching Business Builder (2018), Effective Virtual Conversations (2017) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013). Check out my author page on Amazon for all publications.
Join us for the one-day Virtual Facilitation Essentials program on Thursday October 29 (930 - 4 pm ET). Take your virtual facilitation skills to the next level (and yes, even if you've been on zoom every day for the last 7 months there probably still are a trick or two to help you continue to create a WOW experience every time). Cost: $475 US.
Last call - Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (fall 2020) starts TOMORROW, FRIDAY October 23rd and will run for 5 weeks until November 20th - Fridays 12 - 130 pm Eastern. 10 CCEs with ICF. Get hands on practice and skill development. Ideally suited for those who want feedback on their skills and to learn and connect with a small group of other coaches who are committed to refining their craft. The program is capped at 6 coaches. Cost: $525 US.