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Coaching Agreement

Scope of Service

This document is a coaching agreement between you (“Client”) and me, Paul Benjamin (“Coach”). Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy are different services that serve different purposes.

Psychotherapy and counseling are regulated healthcare services for diagnosing and treating cognitive and emotional difficulties and diagnosed mental illness and disorders. The goal of psychotherapy and counseling is to treat mental illness by alleviating symptoms, preventing relapse, and developing coping mechanisms. 


Coaching, in contrast, is an unregulated service for helping clients identify and work toward personal and professional goals. Coaching is not therapy or mental health care. Coaching is not treatment for diagnosed mental disorders. I may also use modalities such as hypnotherapy, EMDR, and NLP in coaching sessions which are also being utilized as an unregulated service to aid in our coaching goals, not as mental health treatment.


I offer coaching to adults over the age of 18. The relationship between Coach and Client is specifically designed to avoid the power differentials that can occur in a clinical psychotherapy or counseling relationship. Coaching also involves a much lower degree of professional responsibility for client safety. The coaching relationship is designed to be direct and challenging in order to help you move toward your goals. Coaching is not a therapeutic relationship, but rather behavioral science-based interventions for individuals who are seeking to improve their lives or their performance.

The separate roles of Coach and psychotherapist potentially conflict with each other. Under most circumstances, it is unethical for a Coach/clinician to play both roles with a client, whether concurrently or sequentially. This means that if either of us recognize that you are experiencing a mental health problem that would benefit from psychotherapy, I will attempt to refer you to more fitting resources, and I may need to suspend our coaching relationship until the mental health problem has been resolved. 

Coaching is not a substitute for professional advice by legal, medical, or other qualified professionals, nor is it a substitute for mental health treatment.

I also ask you to inform me of any psychological or psychiatric treatment you undergo during the course of our work so that I will not inadvertently interfere with that treatment. In some cases, coaching should wait until treatment is complete.

It is also important to understand that coaching is a professional relationship. While it may often feel like a close personal relationship, professional boundaries must be set and maintained. Considerable research shows that blurred boundaries undermine the hard-won benefits gained from this type of working relationship.


I cannot and do not assume responsibility for any choices you make, or actions you take, resulting from our work. I make no guarantees or warranties, and by signing this agreement you guarantee that in no event will you hold me responsible for consequential or special damages.


Change often makes the people around us uncomfortable or even angry. You may experience resistance, unpleasant interactions, or even retribution from those around you if you make decisions they dislike. You alone are responsible for the outcomes of your actions and inactions. The good news is that you are also fully responsible for the benefits resulting from your decisions.




I am ethically bound to protect the confidentiality of our communications, and I take that responsibility seriously. I will only release information about our work to others with your written permission, or in response to a court order, or due to the special circumstances listed below.


I am legally obligated to break confidentiality in order to protect you or others from harm. If I have information indicating that a child or elderly or disabled person is being abused, I must report that to the appropriate state agency.

I am required to take protective actions if a client is an imminent risk to him or herself, or if he or she makes threats of violence against another. I am also forced to break confidentiality in the event I must initiate collections proceedings.


As I’m sure you’re aware, it is impossible to fully protect the confidentiality of information that is transmitted or stored electronically. While I take precautions, I do not assume responsibility for the actions of third parties who choose to violate our privacy by intercepting or stealing information. By signing this agreement, you are agreeing to conduct business with me electronically, and you release me from any liability or responsibility for the behavior of third parties who may gain access to your information.


Frequency of Meetings


Most clients choose to meet weekly or every other week. Some people find it useful to meet more or less often, and I usually ask clients to do homework between meetings. I may make recommendations about the frequency of our meetings, but ultimately you determine how often we meet. I won’t badger you to set up the next appointment.


Fee and Payment

The service to be provided by me, Paul Benjamin, is coaching by video, telephone, or in person, as designed jointly with you, the Client. The fee for service is the price for the plan or service you have chosen. If we need to extend our time for our session, we will discuss that fee as needed. Unfortunately, experience has taught me to ask for payment in advance of our meetings.


Professional time spent outside of coaching sessions, including but not limited to between-session phone calls or email exchanges, may be billed on a prorated basis rounded up to the nearest tenth of an hour.


I use electronic invoicing delivered to your email address unless we make other arrangements. Please be aware that this means receipts for my services may appear in your email inbox, and a listing of my services may appear on your statements.


Any changes in fees or structure from the above will be discussed and detailed on the invoice or billing statements.


Rescheduling and Cancellations

I ask that you give 24 hours notice if you need to change the time of our appointment, otherwise I must charge the full amount for the missed appointment. Cancellations (rather than rescheduling; no charge for rescheduling with 24 hour notice) result in a $50 Cancellation fee. Please note that accounts more than 30 days overdue may be referred to a collection agency.




Coaching is designed jointly and may be terminated by either the Coach or the Client at any time. In fact, I ask you to continually monitor the usefulness of our work. I don’t wish to waste your time and money. Likewise, I reserve the right to terminate our work or to refer you to more appropriate services at any time.


Dispute Resolution

If a dispute arises out of this agreement that cannot be resolved by mutual consent, the Client and Paul Benjamin agree to mediate in good faith for up to 90 days after notice given.


This document reflects the entire agreement between Paul Benjamin and the Client, and reflects a complete understanding of the parties with respect to the subject matter. This Agreement supersedes all prior written and oral representations and shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Michigan.


Meeting By Video or Phone

I’m happy to meet by video or phone, whichever is more efficient for you.

If we meet by video, I prefer to use zoom as a way to maximize confidentiality. You do not need to install software to use this platform. Please have headphones available in case we encounter audio feedback.

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