Home Concepts Ethics Ethical Framework for the Use of Technology in Coaching

Ethical Framework for the Use of Technology in Coaching

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o Coaches must also be cognizant of laws regulating professional practices within their geographic jurisdiction, and in particular, the standards and practices governing how a record is maintained and what privacy and security rules may apply. In some instances coaches may also be a health care provider by way of employment, education, certification and/or licensure. A circumstance may arise in which a government regulated license or certification may supersede the role of coach, in effect, rendering the coach a health care provider. If that circumstance arises, the coach may need to follow pertinent laws and practice standards governing the use and disclosure of protected health information such as those applying to US health care providers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provisions as outlined by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) act.

Informed Consent: The informed consent process begins when the client contemplates accessing services. Therefore, clear and precise information concerning the nature of the coaching services proposed and how information is managed is accessible via an Informed Consent document posted on the coach’s website. The information in the Informed Consent includes:

o A clear description of the coaching that will be provided to the client.

o How web-enabled and associated telephonic and face-to-face coaching services, as available, will be provided and supported.

o An overview of the coach’s professional qualifications, training and experience.

o A review of the pros and cons of online coaching including such disadvantages as lack of visual and auditory cues and the limitations of confidentiality via technology, and advantages that include easy scheduling, time management and the absence of transportation costs.

o How confidentiality is maintained and personal information is protected: Clear explanation is provided regarded the use and limits of technology with respect to secure (encrypted) and unsecure (unencrypted) communications such as text/mobile messaging. Guidance is provided on which type of technology should be used for secure communications and which may be used for administrative tasks such as scheduling.

o The Informed Consent will also reference the aforementioned Privacy Policy outlining the standards and procedures that will be adhered to regarding data protection, storage, management, and transmission of protected health information. A statement identifying the coach as the owner of the coaching record including all transcripts, notes and emails, unless otherwise specified through law in the coach’s geographic location, will also be provided. The client is informed that posting direct information about the coach or verbatim information from sessions is prohibited.

• How to proceed during a technology breakdown: The client is informed about how to proceed if a technology breakdown occurs during a session, e.g. “If we disconnect, try to reconnect within 10 minutes. If reconnection is not possible, email or call to reschedule an appointment.”

• Who to contact in case of an emergency: Coaches offer specific information about who to contact in case of an emergency and set specific rules about emergency emails that the coach may not be privy to e.g. (suicidal emails in the middle of the night, threatening posts on a support forum). Coaches research local resources within the client’s geographic area as emergency backup resources.

* How cultural specifics may impact treatment: Coaches discuss varying time zones, cultural differences and language barriers that may impact the delivery of services. Coaches should also ensure at or prior to the start of coaching, that the client’s expectations of the service being offered (such as the meaning of the term “coaching”, etc.) is sufficiently close to their own understanding and should take into account that different cultures around the world can have very different understandings of these matters.

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