FAQ: What About Confidentiality?

TERRY:  As an ordained Minister of the Gospel, I protect the confidentiality of those who seek pastoral counsel with me; I also respect the confidentiality for my coaching clients. I will only release information about our work to others with your express written permission, or if I am required to do so by a court order.

There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to breach your confidentiality in order to protect others from harm, including

(1) if I have information that indicates that a child or elderly or disabled person is being abused, I must report that to the appropriate state agency and

(2) if a client is an imminent risk to him/herself or makes threats of imminent violence against another person, I am required to take protective actions.

These situations rarely occur in coaching practices, but if such a situation does occur, I will make every effort to discuss it with you before taking any action.

Opportunities may arise for coaching to be conducted in groups, including teleconference groups. You agree to maintain the confidentiality of all information communicated to you by other coaching clients and by your Coach. We also understand that progress is often enhanced when clients discuss their coaching relationship with trusted colleagues and friends. You can have these discussions, but you are expected to be very careful not to share any information that would allow others in the group to be identified. One way to decide how and what to discuss is to think about how you would feel if someone else in the group was discussing you.

Your responsibility to keep confidentiality of group information does not end at the conclusion of the group. My responsibility to keep the confidentiality of your individual information, in accordance with the above guidelines, does not end when our coaching relationship ends.

As you are probably aware, it is impossible to protect the confidentiality of information transmitted electronically. This is particularly true of E-mail and information stored on computers connected to the internet (unless you use encryption and other forms of security protection), and if you use a cordless or cell phone for coaching sessions, someone with a scanner could hear you talk.