4 Ethics Codes Speak to Technology

4 Ethics Codes Speak to Technology

Technology makes so much possible in the world of coaching – online meeting platforms mean we can meet with people all over the world.  Technology includes creativity tools, screen-sharing, platforms for managing notes, signing agreements, and more.  Technology also creates challenges when it comes to protecting client confidentiality. 4 Ethics Codes Speak to Technology

When you are choosing which technologies to use, consider these 4 Points from the Coaching Code of Ethics to inform your technology choices:

  1. Maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all parties as agreed upon. I am aware of and agree to comply with all applicable laws that pertain to personal data and communications.
  2. Have a clear understanding about how information is exchanged among all parties involved during all coaching interactions.
  3. Have a clear understanding with both Clients and Sponsors or interested parties about the conditions under which information will not be kept confidential (e.g., illegal activity, if required by law, pursuant to valid court order or subpoena; imminent or likely risk of danger to self or to others; etc.). Where I reasonably believe one of the above circumstances is applicable, I may need to inform appropriate authorities.
  4. Maintain, store, and dispose of any records, including electronic files and communications, created during my professional interactions in a manner that promotes confidentiality, security and privacy and complies with any applicable laws and agreements. Furthermore, I seek to make proper use of emerging and growing technological developments that are being used in coaching services (technology-assisted coaching services) and be aware how various ethical standards apply to them.

These points are elaborated on in the Ethics Interpretive Statements:

  • Confidentiality in the coaching relationship is absolutely critical for creating the safe space for the client to succeed. Besides this, personal data protection is becoming an issue of highest importance with the emerging and growing technological developments.
  • Maintaining strict confidentiality applies to all parties and includes all technology, off-site storage, application platforms, software, and social media owned/operated by third parties (i.e., cell phones, computers, tablets etc.).
  • Data protection must be ensured when using technical services/tools of any kind. The constant technological development of these tools / platforms requires vigilance and, if necessary, actions by the coach.
  • ICF professionals, should take appropriate security precautions when using electronic communications such as e-mails, online mail, online chat sessions, mobile communications, and text messages, such as encryption, firewalls with passwords, etc.
  • ICF Professionals should avoid posting any identifying or confidential information about their clients on professional websites or other forms of social media.
  • The ICF Professional should keep in mind that notes, messages, text messages kept on a company-owned computer, company-accessible platform, company-owned email, or company-owned mobile phone are the property of the company and is therefore, not confidential. Unless otherwise determined in the coaching agreement, internally employed or contracted coaches should be particularly aware that IT resources and equipment that are owned by the organization, may give them (the organization) full rights to access information and communications that were assumed private.

In the next blog we will explore case studies related to technologies.

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