How clear are you about your role in the coach-coachee relationship?

What are you responsible for?

Whilst coaching is a fluid relationship without a hierarchy, there still needs to be clarity about the different roles and responsibilities of both parties.

Being clear about roles and responsibilities makes for a smoother, more productive and successful session. It means you can get any associated ‘admin’ out of the way at the start, and you can go into each session with the right mindset.

At the start of the new coach-coachee relationship, it’s likely that there’s an imbalance and the coach is clear about the respective roles and responsibilities whilst the coachee isn’t.

Clarification can come from:

  • the consultation conversation,
  • documentation provided to the coachee prior to the first session
  • a discussion between coach, coachee and their line manager (or stakeholder paying for the coaching programme)

Roles and responsibilities can vary from one coaching engagement to the next, and can depend on whether the coaching is something you’re paying for privately or your organisation is paying for it.


Typically roles and responsibilities of coach and coachee include:

The Coach’s Role & Responsibilities

  1. Making sure they’re there to start on time and finish sessions on time too.
  2. Working with the organisation to ensure the coaching environment is suitable, although this can vary from one organisation to another, and can be out of the coach’s hands.
  3. To support and challenge you to achieve your goals.
  4. To use suitable coaching skills, techniques and tools to aid and facilitate your progress.
  5. To provide the agreed number of sessions.

Coachee’s Role & Responsibilities

  1. Doing appropriate preparation for the session. As well as the ideas suggested in yesterday’s blog post, this can include being prepared to feed back how things have gone since your previous session, progress with any actions you carried out, and any obstacles you’ve come across.
  2. Turning up on time (this includes calling at the agreed time, if the coaching is by phone).
  3. Ensuring your coaching space is a confidential and uninterrupted environment. Sometimes this is done between your coach with the organisation that is paying for the coaching. It’s also commonplace for coach & coachee to meet at a mutually agreed neutral venue (whether paying privately for coaching or not).
  4. Checking / discussing any previously agreed success criteria for the coaching programme (if paid for by your organisation). If you’re paying for coaching yourself, your coach will probably discuss this anyway, as part of the coaching process.
  5. Decisions about courses of action linked to coaching, e.g. post session actions, are your responsibility.
  6. Letting the coach know if you’re having any other type of intervention or support that covers the same focus area (e.g. counselling). You can still be coached on the topic, if it’s a ‘coaching’ topic, and it’s advisable to let the counsellor know you’re also being coached.
  7. Providing adequate notice to the coach about cancelling or rearranging sessions.

What would you add to the items on these lists, based on your own experiences of being coached?