What would happen if you right now shouted out, “Hey Alexa” or “Hey Siri”? Would some electronic voice in the background respond, “What can I help you with?”
These days we have multiple ways of shouting for help/information and getting it useful replies from various types of personal assistant applications. However, I ask you, are these devices turned on during your coaching conversations? If so, the sound is probably going to Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon for processing. What do they do with? I don’t know; and ironically, I don’t really want to know.
However, this could be a breach of confidentiality with your client. Your conversations with your client should not be shared with anyone without your client’s permission (preferably in writing). Simply by pressing a button on these devices or disabling the microphone in the permissions setting for such Apps on your smart phone will probably take care of the problem.
“Oh no. I have been allowing my devices to record my personal conversations!”
Yes, you probably have.
Personally, I would not worry about it too much. Your own privacy is one thing. Security around your client’s information is another. There are many ways for the thief (bugler or hacker) to steal protected client data from you. The point here is that the ethical coach should take measures to prevent the theft of all conversations which should be protected. Your clients trust you to handle their identity information with care.
We could go into GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other guidelines which stipulate the rules for data protection. However, suffice it to say that your level of responsibility might need to be raised a bit. Hopefully, this article has tweaked your awareness and you can start looking around for ways in which your client’s trust will not be compromised due to your current practices.
You’ll be okay. Yet pay attention to the possibility of listening ears that don’t need to hear everything.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Micahel J. Marx, MBA, EdD, PCC, CPCC.
About the Author
Michael is an ICF Professional Certified Coach specializing in business coaching and corporate consultation. Dr. Marx has served as the leader of the ICF ‘Global Community of Practice on Ethics.’ He also serves on the ICF Independent Review Board and Leads Ethics Code Review Team for the Interpretive Statements. Additionally, he is a past-president of Christian Coaches Network International and the author of Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (2016).