Abintus Coaching Resources

Contracting is a critical part of the coaching process, relationship and approach. There is no one correct approach to contracting in coaching, each coach will develop their own ideas and approaches, though some fundamentals will be shared. Having a clear approach to your contracting will get the coaching relationship off to a flying start!

Contracting should be a two way conversation with the coachee encouraged to ask questions for their own understanding. It is an opportunity to establish and further the coaching relationship between coach and coachee. Below is a simple approach and ideas for your creating your own coaching contract checklist.

Before the contracting meeting – optional but value adding

  • Introductory email.
  • Bio of self and coaching background.
  • Links or information about coaching.
  • Purpose of the contracting meeting.
  • Re-iterate meeting times and location.

Scene setting and introductions

  • Welcome & purpose of the meeting and conversation.
  • Duration of meeting, and approach – discussion, share a lot, encourage them to ask questions or clarify as they need to.
  • Coaches background and types of assignments and people worked with in the past.
  • Questions about them – background, life outside of work, tease out what is important to them.
  • What did they think about the information that was sent to them?
  • Thoughts around coaching, what it is and how it works? (get them to explain what they think is different about it)
  • How fitting do they feel the coaching approach is to what support they are looking for?
  • How do they feel coaching might be able to support them?
  • Build on this and talk about logistics – frequency duration of each session. How do they feel about this?

If manager present or subsequently joins meeting for 10-20 minutes

  • Position why asked for the 3 people are present and purpose of this meeting
  • What coachee and manager would like from the meeting, what would be useful for them?
  • Depending on who initiated the coaching request, ask them to clarify what they feel the need is
  • Check in with other person to understand both what they heard and also their views on it
  • If appropriate gain examples of behaviours and situations to understand more and identify future state
  • Ask if anything else need to be considered from either party, incl. expectation of all parties
  • Share about roles and responsibilities of each party
  • Introduce conversation on feedback and how it will work
  • Ask manager what they might need from you as coach

Purpose of their coaching – informal approach to unearth what’s going on for them

  • Reasons they feel they need coaching, what’s going on for them?
  • What is it they are looking to improve or change? What’s the problem they are trying to solve?
  • If a few coaching sessions were held, what would like to be able to take away for themselves at the end of them? What will they have then that they don’t have now?
  • What would make them feel or think differently about their situation?
  • Who is situation affecting? Who is out there in the wider network to help them outside of the coach?
  • What is the overall performance goal or change they are trying to achieve?

Professional elements

Reference the EMCC (or other governing body aligned to) guidelines as coach’s reference point.

  • Confidentiality – explain what and when confidential (illegal, company practice, harm (self or others))
  • Limits of coaching and ethics – what can and won’t talk about – incl. approach if conversation digresses.
  • Role of feedback between coach and coachee – how will this happen? Coach will also seek feedback from coachee at the end of session (as appropriate)
  • Structure of each coaching session
  • Respective roles in the relationship how will we work together. In the past when working with people closely what’s worked best for them?
  • Post session work (homework) and purpose.
  • What might they want from you as their coach, or what won’t work for them?
  • Ending of the relationship during or at end, ‘no fault’ if appropriate.

Conversation summary, moving forward and close

  • Summary of discussion so far
  • What have they taken from this session, what are they thinking about on what has been shared
  • Final thoughts about engaging in the coaching? Do they feel it is an approach they would be happy to engage in?
  • Questions over the content of the meeting, what we spoke about and moving it forward?
  • Any concerns they might have?
  • Agree on initial date, I will contact before then, check in with them and get an idea of first topic area.
  • Get back to you with any questions or concerns.

Other value adding areas to explore

  • Sharing of coaches values and beliefs, exploration of the coachees values and beliefs
  • Understanding of coachee’s learning styles
  • Insights, DiSC or other personality preferences
  • Depending on nature of coaching need access to appraisal, feedback or development plans might provide valuable insight.

Contracting conversations are hugely powerful opportunities for the coach and coachee and they should also be enjoyable.

If you have found this resource useful, contact Abintus to see how we can support you or your organisation in its coaching and leadership activities.