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Building a Coaching-Client Relationship with an Effective Contracting Model

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Contracting is the heart of coaching, counseling, therapy, supervision, training, mentoring and other forms of service such as these. A coaching contract serves as the guiding light to clients and the coach. This defines the path of the coaching process. Contracting in coaching is an indication about the position of the coach, the scope of the relationship with the client, and the direction the sessions will head towards. If executed well, it offers clarity of the entire journey for both parties.

The first stage of the coaching contract is defined even before the process of coaching is initiated with the client. This also decides the objectives of the coaching relationship, the results that are expected from both sides, the methods to be employed, as well as other legal terms and conditions.

Contracting in coaching is useful to specify the boundaries for the coach and the client. It also works as a protective layer to avoid any confusion of thoughts that can happen for both parties during the course of their journey. Contracting helps to provide specific indicators, hopes, fears, and other details useful for the coach. Most often, both parties are bound to find contracting in coaching as a method to grow more during the ongoing sessions.

Life Leadership Coach, Dr. Paras, has devised a model that acts as a guide for coaches looking to derive the best possible results from their client-coach journey. After over 15 years of coaching experience, Dr. Paras’ model aims to shed light on effective coaching and how contracting reaches one to a common understanding.

Let’s understand this model which is a must for every professional and aspiring coach, mentor, and trainer.

Contracting Model for Coaching by Dr. Paras

As a coach, you must have come across the ABC triangle which explores the impact and causes of conflict. Coach Dr. Paras explains his own technique useful for coaching through the conversion and diversion process with his exclusive Contracting Model theory. His methodology is beneficial for all coaches who have a goal to work on successful coaching sessions. Coaches will find this as an apt tool to ensure their client makes tremendous progress. This is an important step for contracting that is crucial for the success of every coaching agreement.

As Dr. Paras expands on his concept, he highlights the three areas that a coach needs to pay careful attention to when a client steps in for the service.

  1. Confusion
  2. Contracting
  3. Clarity

1) Confusion

A client approaching the coach is going through a number of emotional changes, disturbed thought processes, depression, beliefs, fears, fantasies, anxiety, and more. This is the state that is best described as a confusion state as put forth by Dr. Paras.

For e.g.: A client may feel he is unable to progress in his endeavor to lose weight. What happens here is a whirlwind of thoughts where the client has convinced himself that he cannot lose weight as he has already done the ‘required steps’ without seeing any results. The client has a constant focus on what they ‘don’t want’ leading to a thought process that is haphazard and devoid of any concrete plans.

2) Contracting

The coach here has the challenge of proceeding to move the client from this state of confusion to the state of clarity in coaching. A coach at this stage needs to ask the client through continuous dialogue, “What do you expect from the session?” The meta-goal of the client here would be to lose weight. However, the real goal is what the client must realize about the self. In this case, the real goal can be about developing self discipline or increasing awareness of self with a focus on the thought patterns. When the coach is able to contract with the client, the latter starts exploring the core self and understands the need for this to be established in a particular coaching dialogue. The client begins to look forward with a motive to find an alternative solution instead of dwelling on the problem at hand. Here, the client makes a transition from what they don’t want to what they want, leading to a chance of getting improved results. With this exploration and expansion phase, the client is in constant conversion process as seen in the diagram above.

3) Clarity

What happens here? A new perspective opens up for the client wherein he taps his resourceful space. He understands what he has to do and what was lacking in his approach. He develops new ideas leading to clarity of vision (refer to the Diversion process in the diagram above). He begins moving towards his real goals. He defines the sessions as being tremendously empowering for him. A client gets complete clarity by identifying the goal and expanding the thinking process to define the action. He realizes that life is full of possibilities and opportunities and how he must act upon it to create the desired result. A client moves from the victim stage to one who is truly empowered in his thinking, feeling, and actions. This is what defines the success of one’s coaching sessions with successful contracting in place.

Dr. Paras aptly describes these 3 stages in his diagram. This is a great resource of knowledge useful for any coach who can use it as a guideline for one’s coaching sessions.

As you can see, contracting in coaching is extremely crucial for the coaching process. The contracting goes beyond a formal agreement. This is a process that is goal-oriented in nature and must be constantly displayed in the coaching relationship. Dr. Paras highlights the contracting model as one that is designed to deliver consistent success and growth to a session while adding higher value for clients.

If you’ve used this model successfully, we’d like to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comments below. Questions on coaching? Write to info@coachdrparas.com. Browse the coaching and training sessions by Dr. Paras. The courses are aimed at developing professional coaches. We equip all coaches with the latest knowledge in the coaching industry.

*Disclaimer: The Contracting Model is developed exclusively by Dr. Paras and its representation in any form (online or offline) needs to be done with prior consent. Attribution required.