Our guide to safety and clarity

Confidentiality in coaching is a crucial aspect to our journey that we all need to be clear on.

This section outlines the in’s and out’s of how we work with confidentiality in various coaching contexts.

When you embark on a coaching journey, coaching confidentiality will be discussed in more detail, relevant to your specific context.

Confidentiality and Coaching

As a coach, I am bound by the ethics and standards I subscribe to as outlined by the ICF and as defined in my practice. Coaching always takes the stance that what is discussed in the session is confidential with the exception of the following:

  • Discussions about breaking the law, the intention of breaking the law, or any past or present illegal activities
  • The reasonable awareness of intent to harm yourself, or others (including the organization)
  • Any form of abuse or trauma visited on you or perpetrated by you on any others

For us to have clarity on Confidentiality in coaching, we need to understand that coaching is not a privileged relationship like the relationship with your doctor, therapist or psychiatrist is. That means that I cannot claim to have client-patient confidentiality to protect our conversations and should I be required by the court to provide testimony or documents about our conversations, I am obligated to do so.

Individual Coaching in the Organization

When conducting coaching inside of an organization, it is important to be explicit on how confidentiality in coaching is structured. The same assumptions as the above apply in that what we discuss in Individual Coaching Conversations remains between us, unless any of the above issues come up and if any of the policies, obligations or agreements as an employer are contravened. If your coaching sponsor requires feedback about the progress of coaching, they are welcome to discuss that with you as this is outside of what confidentiality entails in an organization.

The only feedback I will provide is:

  • That you have undertaken coaching, and when / how many sessions we have had. This is typically provided to the Coaching Sponsor or Representative.
  • If you have missed an individual coaching session or rescheduled it with less than 24-hour notice. This has financial implications and it also impacts the progression of the organisation’s objectives to support you in your development journey. For this reason, this information is shared.
  • Should you choose to discontinue coaching at any time, for whatever reason.
  • If I need to terminate the coaching journey because the scope and nature of what you require is outside of the scope and nature of coaching, or if you have brought to light the intent to harm yourself or others.
  • If it has come to our awareness that you have contravened the employment agreement and policies.

In most of these cases, I will indicate what had occurred in communication with both yourself and your sponsor and indicate my willingness to have a conversation about it with all parties present if required.

Team Coaching in the Organization

Team and group confidentiality in coaching build on what we have discussed above. Because we are working with a larger system, and because all voices in the organization form part of that system, I have to assume that anything that is said about another part of the system is relevant to the whole.

All of the above guidelines still apply for Team and Group Coaching Confidentiality. However, when team A talks about team B, or about ‘managers’ for example, then I will bring this information to light in the next conversation, or bring both parties together to openly discuss it. In other words, I keep no secrets on your behalf between entities in the organization because that serves no one.

When I raise these kinds of conversations, I still do so anonymously, or I bring awareness to Team A needing a conversation with Team B – not who said what in the conversation. As a team, I assume that you take responsibility as a whole for your development. However, if an individual speaks to anything in the sections above, I follow the route as outlined there.

That’s a lot!

Don’t worry too much about all the in’s and out’s because we will discuss this in our chemistry or orientation conversations before we start our journey together in Individual, Team or Group Coaching. You can ALWAYS ask for clarity from your coaching sponsor and myself throughout the process. The main objective is to create safety and integrity throughout the process.

WillCoach Notes & Recordings

As a coach, I adhere to the legal requirements of POPI and the ethical practices of the ICF and COMENSA. This means that I will not keep notes on our conversations past the duration of our journey together or share these notes with anyone other than yourself. If sessions are recorded, they are only shared with you and are only used for my personal reflection and development.

Coaching Supervision

The only area where the coaching conversation is discussed is with my Supervisor. I do not talk about the person, or the details, and the focus of the conversation are about what has happened for me, what I was thinking, feeling, noticing, and doing.


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