Confidentiality in Leadership Coaching



As a leadership coach, I am often hired to step into work environments and help facilitate culture changes and overall leadership wellbeing. Culture change takes a lot of work with a variety of leaders and teams over an extended duration. This means that I find myself working with 10-30 people in an organization during the same time period.


You can imagine that it takes a great deal of confidentiality and trust building to get an entire staff population to see me as a dependable source of information and feel safe enough to bring work situations to me so I can help them navigate them in healthy ways.


Here are 3 things that I learned about confidentiality from leadership coaching in corporate environments:


Your Leaders Will Not Tell You Everything


Leaders are human beings, and most work environments are not designed to help people learn how to process situations in new ways so that results are different. In fact, that is why coaching is so valuable. We teach people how to develop new processes, so that patterns in the workplace change for the better.


One of the things I realized the quickest when I started coaching 6 years ago, was that leaders and staff were not telling each other everything. Sometimes this was because they didn’t feel safe enough to say something. Sometimes it was because they thought there wasn’t a viable solution. And many times, the scenario was a point of such stress that they could not broach the topic.


This is where I realized I could make the most impact; I know how to help people look at a problem and not feel as stressed about it. I also know that every problem has a solution— its multiple facets just need to be built and learned. Furthermore, because I have lowered the stress levels surrounding the problem, I can help team members more effectively collaborate with others to solve it.


I have also gotten very good at seeing patterns. I convey these patterns to those individuals whom could best support the necessary changes. Which brings us back to the question of confidentiality; I know how to inform teams of these patterns without creating backbiting or breaking confidentiality. I accomplish this nuanced technique through careful adherence to my personal value system and the foundations of Energy Leadership, a tool which I use with every company I work with.


Trust is Hard to Get Back

A lot of my work is helping people trust other people again. Trust is honestly very easy to break, but it requires a tremendous amount of time and energy to get it back once it has been lost.


This is why, when I work with a business, I do a workshop on people’s value systems. This is a great way to get to know people. It’s also a space in which one can learn the valuable soft skills of how to honor other people’s values and build solid and healthy relationships with them. Relationships that are strong and healthy are much more forgiving and understanding when things do happen. Without that strength and trust, people will not follow you when you need to make a big change or try something new, because they don’t know if they trust you. I love to build trust, as it’s a human resource that is undervalued but has huge long-term results.


When Leaders Need Help


As I said, leaders are in fact human; which means we are always in the process of learning. I have noticed that leaders often work the best when they understand their own processes for emotions, problem solving and handling human dynamics. They are often stressed when they don’t have tools to do these things.


When I am working with a CEO on a job hunt, I always make sure they negotiate coaching as a regular part of their compensation package. In my eyes, it’s a win for the company, as well as the leader. If you are running a company, it’s important to know that you have the support, vision, and actionable steps to reach your goals—plus, the loving accountability to proceed without judgement. Coaching will ensure just that.


I have found that since the pandemic, leaders need some help resetting for their work and lives post-COVID. That is why I designed a workshop to help leaders and companies bounce back after so much change.


Is your company in need of a post-COVID reset? Reach out to Shannon to get more information on booking leadership training and coaching for your leaders. Here is the link to book a free 30-minute consultation.