Confidentiality Coaching confidentiality is owed to the client – which is different than to the company or sponsor of the coaching.  The ICF provides these definitions in the Code of Ethics:

  • Client:  The “client” is the person(s) being coached.
  • Sponsor: The “sponsor” is the entity (including its representatives) paying for and/or arranging for coaching services to be provided.

Then in addressing confidentiality, the ICF Code of Ethics states: “I will maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information. I will have a clear agreement or contract before releasing information to another person, unless required by law.”

What does this mean to a coach?  Unless there is a threat of harm or an unreported crime, the coaching conversation stays between the coach and the client.  If others request information, including the company or sponsor paying for the coaching, it is the client’s decision what information gets released.

Prior to engaging in a coaching relationship, discuss with clients and sponsors how confidentiality applies.  Plan in advance what information is exchanged and the process for the exchange.  Then as a coach verify you have permission before releasing information or even better, co-create a report with the client and have them provide the information to the sponsor them self.

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