Three-way contracting meetings

A fundamental aspect of professional coaching is the confidentiality that is created and held between the coach and the coachee. In certain coaching situations that are commissioned by a manager or leader, this confidentiality needs to be extended to the commissioning organisation. In this situation, the boundaries of conversation and disclosure need to be agreed upon in advance and this is normally completed in something called a three-way contracting meeting.

For the purposes of ongoing discussion, the coachee is the person(s) receiving the coaching, and the client is the commissioning or contracting organisational representative. This is normally the line manager.

  • In this meeting there is a general discussion that helps explain and answer questions around:
  • What coaching is and what coaching is not.
  • An understanding of expectations and outcomes from both the coachee and client’s perspective.
  • Exploring why coaching is being used as the intervention type.
  • How the confidences can be maintained. For example, what can be fed back to the client, and what is out of scope.
  • What needs to be in place to gain the most from a coaching relationship.
  • Any specific objectives related to an outcome. (E.g., performance, behavioural change, attitude to stress, overwhelm, work patterns, strategic development etc).

In some situations, a three-way contracting meeting may not be required. This is typical for executive and board-level coaching where the executive coach is acting as a strategic and tactical sounding board helping the coachee balance the everyday challenges of leading a business.