Executive Coaching from the Executive’s Perspective

Not long ago I invited several CEOs and Presidents to share what executive coaching is as they experience it and define it. To continue this Series, here are their thoughts and commentary to Question 6.

Q 6:  What is the nature and scope of confidentiality in an executive coaching engagement?

“Confidentiality is the foundation upon which an executive coaching relationship is based. Without confidentiality, the whole process does not work…it falls apart.”

“Confidentiality has to be at the absolute highest level and you (the coach) really only get one shot at that. If at any point I tell you something and somehow it leaks out and I find out, we’re done…absolutely done…you don’t get a second chance. And you will never be back to where you were.”

“Confidentiality means that the executive coach should not be carrying messages for anyone up or down the organization…not from the CEO and not to the CEO. The coach is not a communication link.”

“There are, I think, special circumstances when the coach should be released from confidentiality. I’m sure that your own professional psychology association has a Code of Ethics that contain guidelines about honoring, preserving, and breaching confidentiality. That’s part of why I trust someone with your background in this type of work.”

Next K&S: Leadership Alchemy blog entry Q 7:  What should the nature and extent of feedback to the organization be when executives are engaged in executive coaching?

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