One of the most important building blocks in mentoring is trust based upon an agreement on confidentiality. This seems a given, so much so, that most people consider this as "stating the obvious". However, there is a danger in this and that is to assume that my partner and I have the same understanding about what confidentiality means. There are many different variations on confidentiality. Here are a few:
- Everything is kept between the two of us only.
- Everything is kept between the two of us unless one or the other partner gives the other permission to share.
- Everything we say here you can share unless I specifically state that the following is confidential.
So when agreeing on confidentiality, make certain you both understand each other's specific definition and that way you'll avoid getting derailed with an expectation that may be obvious but not really defined.