Coaching 101: the Legal Side

In today’s age, it seems that more and more people are looking to better themselves, whether it’s in their career, their relationships, or with their mindset completely. For that reason, many of the Legal Advice calls we take are from those setting up coaching businesses.

Generally they are looking for a bit of help with what they need to make sure that they are completely compliant with the law and they are fully legally protected.

Here’s a few tips for those newbie coaches out there:


You must register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The ICO is the UK’s independent authority which deals with data protection and freedom of information in the UK.

Coaches will be processing client personal data, such full names, email addresses and phone numbers, and therefore you must to comply with the UK GDPR.

Registering with the ICO takes minutes and will usually cost between £40 and £60, depending on your company size. If you don’t, the penalty is up to £4,000 (plus your registration fee).

You need to pay this annually but you will get a reminder from the ICO in case you forget.

You can take the ICO self-assessment here –


Privacy and Cookies Policy

If you have a website and you collect personal information, you need a privacy and cookies policy which tells users what personal data is collected and how it will be used. You will also need to tell website users if you set up cookies and explain what they do.

It isn’t just that – you will also need that (annoying) cookies banner that pops up on your website every time someone visits it.

Failing to comply with these requirements can lead to ICO fines, which no one wants!


Terms and Conditions (Ts and Cs)

You should have Ts and Cs linked at the bottom of your website. These should outline the terms of which users can use your website, details of its ownership and permitted uses of website content etc. We would always recommend that you include a notice saying that you the website is copyrighted so people know that you own it.


Client Contract

We hear time and time again that clients don’t have contracts with their own clients. This terrifies us because contracts are so, so important for both parties. It governs the relationship between them, so they know where they stand. It should cover thinks like the service offered, the cost of your coaching, payment terms, what if the client doesn’t pay, exclusion of liability, protection of your intellectual property.

Get in touch if you would like us to review the contract you have prepared yourself (to make sure you are fully protected) or if you would like us to provide a bespoke contract matching your tone and style.



As a coach, you are providing services to your clients and therefore we strongly recommend that you obtain ‘professional liability’ insurance. This is there to protect you (and your client) in case anything goes wrong in the course of your coaching.

You should speak to an insurance broker to get a quote.


Intellectual Property

Here, we mean registering your company name or logo (referred to as your trademark) with the Intellectual Property Office (ICO). The reason it’s so important is that it can be quite expensive to create your brand, such as designing your website and marketing material, and you don’t want a competitor setting up shop with your trademark and nicking your clients!

It sounds daunting to do this, but the UK is the only DIY jurisdiction since the IPO does make it super easy for you. Head over to our IP page for more info:

So, first you should do a search for your trademark here: to see if there any are competitors in the same industry with a same or similar trademark. If there are, it is possible this could cause a barrier to registration since the similarity may have a ‘likelihood of confusion’.

There are 45 classes for goods and services that any goods or services will fall under. Of the 45 classes, coaches will definitely need to register in the following class:

  • Class 41 (education) – this is the class for coaching services

Depending on the services on offer, you may also consider registering in the following classes:

  • Class 9 (software) – if you provide course material which is downloadable, such as podcasts, eBooks or recorded training sessions
  • Class 16 (publications) – if you provide printed course material

You need to make sure you fully describe the goods or services being offered within each class you’re registering in. As above, make sure that there are no competitors with a similar trademark registered in the same class(es) as you.

The fees for the UK IPO are relatively low. If you are doing it yourself, we cannot recommend the ‘Right Start Examination Service’ highly enough. It is £200 as a starting point (to register in one class) and if you make any mistakes, the ICO will tell you what you need to do to get your trademark registered. Your fees are also paid half in advance and half once your trademark has been registered. It is £50 extra for each additional class.


That’s a run through of the common points we discuss with newbie coaches and if you want to find out more about the above, or anything we’ve not covered, book a free, no-obligation Legal Advice Call:

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