Confidentiality is the Key to successful coaching/mentoring outcomes!

published in Issue 38
International Coaching News

Coaching and Mentoring puts each Coach and/or Mentor in a very privileged position.  It is a position from which they can enrich the lives of their client.  Where care with the information shared in each session is not exercised, harm can be caused.

No less than any other profession, Coaching and Mentoring requires clear behavioural guidelines in order to safeguard not only the client but also the Coach and/or Mentor.  These behavioural guidelines do not stand on their own and one of the Core Values endorsed by the industry is CONFIDENTIALITY!

This is nowhere more important than in a Corporate Coaching and/or Mentoring relationship.  The reason for this is that it is often a Human Resources Director/Manager who employs the Coach and/or Mentor for a service that will be provided to an owner or member of staff (known as the client).

Confidentiality does not start and end with the coaching or mentoring agreement period.  Confidentiality remains through the longevity of the Coaches and/or Mentors career and retirement.

Within the industries Codes of Conduct each Coach and/or Mentor will treat all information provided by their client with absolute confidentiality.  Information will only be disclosed where the client agrees in writing that it may be or where the Coach and/or Mentor believes there is compelling evidence of serious danger to the client or another person if the information is withheld. Where this is the case, the Coach and/or Mentor should retain as much confidentiality as possible but share their concerns with the Human Resources Director, or the International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC, or the relevant government organisation.

Often within a Corporate Coaching and/or Mentoring agreement, the person paying the charges; the Human Resources Director for example, will be involved in determining the objectives of the service to be provided.

During the sessions, although the Coach and/or Mentor will focus on these objectives; personal and/or professional information relating to the client may be discussed.  Areas where the client is not as confident, or feels challenged by their manager or colleagues, or feels demotivated, or doesn’t have the belief in themselves, or being distracted at work by personal challenges at home, or anything else personal or professional.

As with other areas of personal development funded by a business, the Human Resources Director will be looking for a ‘Return on their Investment’, often referred to as ROI.  When addressing the personal development of owners, managers, and all levels of staff; it is not always possible to determine a financial ROI.  More often it is the intangible ROI that determine the value of the financial investment.

It is in determining their ROI that Human Resource Directors often want feedback and reports on the success of their financial investment.  While understandable, the balance between providing this feedback/reports and retaining confidentiality is often something that becomes a challenge for each Coach and/or Mentor.

Without any formal feedback/report, the Human Resources Director will be able to determine the mindset, improved moral, improved confidence, improved commitment, and increased ability of the client.

In line with the Codes of Conduct, the Coach and/or Mentor may not discuss the details of each session; but may recommend that the client provides the feedback/report.  This leaves the client with the control over the amount of detail they make available.