Coaching is a fast-growing industry in Australia. As a lawyer for business contracts, I regularly work with coaches who have seen an increased trend in refund requests or client complaints before they develop relevant coaching terms and conditions. As a business, money, relationship or life coach, you certainly don’t want to build a reputation for not delivering what was expected.

In this blog post, we will discuss why it’s essential for small business owners to keep their coaching arrangements straightforward to minimize refunds and maximize success.

In short, complicated offers = confused clients = refund requests. If you don’t have a coaching agreement, be sure to also read about why Every Business Coach Needs a Client Agreement.

Avoiding Confusion & Unclear Expectations

One of the major pitfalls associated with complicated coaching agreements is that it can leave customers feeling uncertain about what they’re signing up for—and result in them expecting something different from what your business provides. Therefore, it’s critical to clearly lay out all expectations in writing to avoid miscommunication between you and your clients. This way, everyone knows exactly what they should expect from the agreement before committing!

For instance:

  • Is the coaching a private or group coaching program?
  • How much access do clients get to you, and via which platforms?
  • How long does each coaching session go for, and over what period?
  • What happens if the coaching session needs to be rescheduled?
  • When is payment required?
  • In which circumstances would a refund request be accepted?
  • What obligations are there on the client for preparation/homework?
  • What results are you committing to, if any?
  • What is required to be kept confidential?

Coaches should not feel that they can’t be upfront with these terms. By setting clear terms about the coaching offer, confusion should reduce, resulting in fewer refund requests.

Reducing Refund Requests

When customers are confused about a program or course, there’s a greater chance that they may end up requesting a refund because they didn’t understand the inclusions in the offering or how it would benefit them.

It can be particularly challenging if the coach has made assertions about results without genuinely being able to ensure those results can be achieved, for example. By providing clear information upfront – such as detailed descriptions of the coaching package and expected results – businesses can reduce the likelihood of unnecessary return requests and ensure customer satisfaction in the long run.

Enhancing Your Professional Reputation

Simple agreements also go a long way to enhance your reputation as an expert coach; nothing reflects poorly on your business like confused customers who don’t understand your service offerings. By keeping things clear and concise—from terms of service to pricing and refund policies—you demonstrate professionalism and give potential clients the confidence that you know what you’re doing. Plus, this approach makes sign-up processes easier for everybody involved!

In some instances, coaches will push for a hard sell, which doesn’t allow their clients to review the terms before signing up for the coaching offer. To reduce refund requests, I highly recommend allowing all clients enough time to review your coaching terms and conditions before committing to work with you.

Privacy Policies and Non-Disclosure Agreements are another integral part of a professional coaching relationship. Coaching clients want to feel comfortable sharing their business and personal challenges, which means these agreements are an absolute must for building trust.

Are you ready to take your coaching offering to another level? Our DIY Legal Templates for Coaches and Custom Consultation Agreements help to streamline both the sign-up process and contract agreements – so that no ambiguous details are misleading potential clients!