Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders as Coach: Confidentiality

As a Leader as Coach, you are becoming aware of ethical dilemmas facing you.

confidentialityWe’ll turn our attention today to confidentiality.

You know that you are bound to keep anything that happens in coaching confidential, between you and the other person.  It is up to them who and what they tell.

Sometimes you will be tested on the confidentiality part of your contract, and you’ll need to decide how to act.


Some examples of when you’re bound by your confidentiality contract

  • You may notice that multiple people are coming to you for coaching about their relationship with a certain member of the leadership team.  They are all trying to figure out, independently, how to work with this individual who they are all finding difficult to work with, albeit in differing ways.  Given the pattern, it feels as though the organisation needs to know about this individual’s impact on so many people.  But you are bound by your confidentiality contract.  How might you tackle this?
  • In another instance, a member of your team has asked for some coaching to process their 360 degree feedback results.  They have got bogged down trying to understand a particular comment from one person.  You think you know who this person is, as you have heard them commenting on this individual in a meeting previously.  What might you do?
  • You take the train with someone who seems to be fishing for information about one of their team members, who you coach.  How do you react?
  • You hear from your coachee that they are being bullied.  They don’t use such harsh words, but that’s how you interpret it.  How does your duty of confidentiality stack up against your duty of care?

More dilemmas to think about seriously, deciding on a tailored course of action that meets the needs of the situation and the relationship.  Coaching supervision can help you to figure out what to do for each particular situation and each individual scenario.

And if you want to know more about boundaries or dual relationships, please take a moment to read the previous posts.