All coaching is confidential.
It would have to be or coaching would not produce powerful results. Confidentiality is part of contracting that would be undertaken by a professional coach in the very first session with you. Your coach will explain confidentiality to you if you are paying for your own coaching and also explain how confidentiality will work if your company is paying for your coaching sessions.
“Anything you say can and will be used against you,” is probably a phrase running through your head.
It would make no sense if you sat through every coaching session in total silence too scared to share anything. Coaches know this and so the agreement with the employer is to contract to a specific outcome, growth or result. The coach contracts with you, the coachee to work towards achieving that outcome, growth or result, but the journey to get there is only between you and the coach. Your coach will explain when they will be obliged to break confidence – e.g. if you plan to commit suicide.
Let’s use an example.
A manager calls in a coach to work with Vusi (not his real name). They have been thinking about promoting Vusi but there is a concern that recently he is always late.
The outcome wanted by the manager would be for Vusi to be on time.
The coach meets with Vusi and uncovers why Vusi is late. It turns out that Vusi is recently divorced and his children stay over for at least 3 nights a week. Vusi lives further away from school than he used to, he is juggling school lunches, homework, extra-murals and seems to fly into the office out of breath 20-30 minutes late every day.
He has noticed that once he is late in the mornings, everything seems to ripple and he is late for his other appointments. The coach guides Vusi to put in a system to manage this new stage of his life. Vusi is also grateful to be able to speak to his coach about his divorce, coping as a dad and about knowing that his manager is not happy with him.
In time, the manager is happy as Vusi is now on time and all of this is achieved without the manager ever knowing why Vusi was late.
Vusi was delighted to share with his coach that he has been promoted.