But Promise Me You Won't Tell Anyone
Counsellors, pastors, and coaches have to know how to stickhandle their way acoss the blue line of confidentiality. Nothing will empty your office, silence your phone, clear your appointment calendar like mishandling the puck of confidentiality.
Trust is the currency we work with. Abuse and misuse it and we end up initially in the penalty box and ultimately suspended from the game.
The tough-to-handle zone is when someone drops an info-bomb on you with the qualifier, I need you to keep this on the "QT". "She asked that I not share this with you."
Caring coaches, counsellors and pastors hate being trapped in this confidentiality commitment "no man's land." It's frustrating! It's paralyzing! You are motivated to take action but your hands are tied, your mouth is taped, your contribution is cancelled!
How do you deek and drive your way forward with comments like: "I just wanted you to know because I know you're his friend, but you cannot let him know that you know as they would be so ashamed and embarrassed."
Joseph Grenny, in the Crucial Skills website gives us some great advice on how to skate into this zone without going offside.
"I made it a rule for myself years ago that I would never make an unconditional confidentiality commitment without knowing the consequences. Before people share sensitive information with me, I tell them clearly, 'Please do not tell me anything you don't want me to act on. If you put information in my head, I will do what I feel ethically bound to do afterward. Now, what would you like me to know?'"
It's your head and you must take full responsible for what's in it. You cannot be trapped with information that you have committed to not act on. Information you don't act on is nothing more than gossip. Counsellors, coaches, pastors have a passion to help move forward what is stuck, to fix what is broken, to heal what is sick, to free what is lock up. The tool that we use is words good enough to act on. Our goal is not to fix the blame but to fix the problem.
"The great end of life is not knowledge but action."
Thomas Henry Huxley
"If you treat people as they are, you make them worse. If you treat people as they ought to be, you help them become what they are capable of becoming."