Ethical Discussion in Coaching Certification

The ICF Code of Ethics states “I will maintain, store, and dispose of any records created during my coaching business in a manner that promotes confidentiality, security, and privacy, and complies with any applicable laws and agreements.”

How will the records be maintained?  If the records are on a company computer, does that promote confidentiality, security, and privacy for the client?  Some argue yes, others say no.  If the records are on a company computer, then the company owns the records and can access them any time.  Will a client limit what they discuss if they know that?

How long will the records be maintained and stored?  Some say indefinitely, others say only during the coaching relationship.  What does the client want?  The coach has the notes to serve the client and while the relationship is active it makes sense to keep the records.  A client may come back to the coach after the regular coaching relationship ends for more coaching so some coaches keep the records for a year or two, and then destroy them.  The reason given is that after a year or two even if a client does come back, the information will be out-dated.

How does a coach store the records?  Some say that if the computer is password protected it is secure, others want encryption.  Who has access to where the records are kept?  If in a company office, how is access limited?  If in a home office, how are the records secure from others in the house?

While the answers to many of these questions are different for different coaches, considering this in advance and then ensuring transparency with a client on the practices used makes sense.

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