We are employed by several household name firms to provide coaching to their senior managers and Directors.
Last week, we signed up a new client. In passing, the Director responsible for the senior manager we will be training asked me if I would be reporting to him the conversations I’d be having with his manager.
I was shocked.
As a professional coach, I take client confidentiality extremely seriously.
The coach, the coachee and the client
But it made me think about the fact that client confidentiality could be seen to be a barrier between me forming a workable relationship with my paying corporate clients.
Business coaching is an unusual model in this sense. It’s important that I maintain a strong and evolving relationship with my paying clients. But while we are in session, the managers and Directors I train are my most important focus and I would never break our confidentiality agreement under any circumstance.
I think in this case, the Director was simply unaware of the confidentiality issues implicit in such relationships. I made it clear that I would not be passing any information from our sessions. In our discussion, he asked me to provide some information about how he could improve communication within his team; to help his team know that he was there for them, and open to hearing issues.
If you’d like to know what I said to him, please book a free 30 minute consultation by tweeting me on @pitchperfectclub.
Two crucial ingredients for success
For me, this exemplifies how important trust is to coaching. My paying clients must trust me to guide, coach and help their employee. My end-user clients must know that I am going to maintain confidentiality at all times.
Above all, I must know that I am living by my personal values: listening, learning and guiding within the boundaries of a client/coach relationship, while being open to helping paying clients strengthen their teams.
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