An a Contract is an Essential Ingredient For Successful Agile Coaching

This is the third article in this series on Agile Coaching. If you would like to suggest a topic for future articles, please use the comments below.

For previous articles in this series please see:

What coaching means to me

To Coach, you need permission


To professionally coach someone, you will need a coaching contract. Professional coaching is an essential part of Agile Coaching. Hence the name.


The contract that I am referring is a behavioural contract that is co-created between the coach and the coachee or team. It is a clear demarcation that separates normal conversations from coaching. It helps everyone understand what is expected of them and where the boundaries of the relationship are. It reduces risk and increases confidence and confidentiality.

If the word ‘contract’ offends you or is not appropriate inside your work place, then use the word ‘alliance’ or ‘ways of working’.


The International Coach Federation code of ethics (ICF)has several references to the coaching contract.

  • Professional Coaching Relationship: A professional coaching relationship exists when coaching includes an agreement (including contracts) that defines the responsibilities of each party.
  • Have a clear coaching service agreement with my clients and sponsor(s) before beginning the coaching relationship and honor this agreement. The agreement shall include the roles, responsibilities and rights of all parties involved.


Focus on including those elements that will keep you both safe and maximise your coachee’s chance of reaching their outcomes. This creates a container around your coaching that there are less distractions or worries in the sessions. This will allow you to go deeper and create better results.

The ICF code of ethics states:

  • Have a clear agreement about how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client and sponsor.
  • Have a clear agreement when acting as a coach, coach mentor, coaching supervisor or trainer, with both client and sponsor, student, mentee, or supervisee about the conditions under which confidentiality may not be maintained (e.g., illegal activity, pursuant to valid court order or subpoena; imminent or likely risk of danger to self or to others; etc) and make sure both client and sponsor, student, mentee, or supervisee voluntarily and knowingly agree in writing to that limit of confidentiality. Where I reasonably believe that because one of the above circumstances is applicable, I may need to inform appropriate authorities.


If you are an Agile Coach without a contract, and I don’t mean your employment contract, I mean a ways of working document between you and your coachees, then please schedule in a session to create one.

For more ideas on what to put in one, you can attend one of our agile coaching training courses. If you have some good resources online, please post links in the comments.


I hope this helps you get more success from your Agile Coaching.

Let me know any other topics you might be interested in below.


AWA is an Agile Coaching and Training Organisation based in Europe and the United States.

If you want help with your coaching, you can either come on one of our public training courses or book us for private onsite training and / or coaching at your organisation.

We offer a 2-week systemic coaching engagement at your place of work that accelerates your organisation’s agility in ways that would usually take years.

You can contact us at:
UK: +44 (0) 2033691125
USA: +16468322328 

Simon Powers is the CEO and founder of Adventures with Agile. He has over 20 years’ experience helping very large organisations to thrive in the market and to be better places to work. His approach led him to create our transformative ICAgile Certified Enterprise Agile Coaching training courses, which run worldwide and online. Simon is one of the first ICE-EC experts in the world.