The number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship is the rapport between the coach and the client. Effective rapport building requires establishing trust. Foundational to establishing trust is the level of confidentiality. Ensuring confidentiality is a challenge for an internal coaching program – both real and perceived.
The Real Challenge of Confidentiality:
Recognizing that the conversations and the notes belong only to the coachee in the care only of the coach.
• This means that the notes must be on the coach’s personal computer, the coachee’s personal computer, or on paper.
• When the coaching relationship is complete, the coach has a set time for keeping notes and then they are either given to the coachee or destroyed.
The Perceived Challenge of Confidentiality:
Within an organization is the concern that the information is kept in HR files or is shared.
• It is essential to discuss ethics, confidentiality, and record keeping with the coachee in advance and ensure the follow-through on established protocals.
The Follow-through to Protect Confidentiality:
Occasionally a manager or supervisor will ask for a report on the coaching relationship.
• Ideally this is pre-empted in a coaching program with established policies that are public.
• If it does occur, simply refer to the Code of Ethics and the policies manual.
Do provide the reasons: when confidentiality is protected, the coaching relationship is effective. This in turn provides the high ROI for the coaching program.