Claus had invited his mentee to share whatever they wanted with him. To help them feel at ease, he also promised that whatever would be said between them would stay between them.
After the session he found himself feeling awkward.
He was caught between his desire to help his mentee, their working relationship, and his values.
What he had learned was in opposition with how he perceived the work ethic in their team. However, based on his promise, he felt that he couldn’t share his newly learned knowledge with the team. He also found it hard to find a way to react to the new situation or keep the secret.
It’s a classic. The person sharing her knowledge is stuck herself and tries to get rid of the problem by transferring it on to someone else. They have a sense that something is wrong, but they don’t feel safe enough to tackle the issue themselves. Through sharing, they have the fantasy that the problem will be solved. But actually their path was more one of getting rid of the responsibility they have in their situation. At the same time sharing now gives them someone to blame should any problem occur.
There is no easy way out o such a situation.
All options available will either lead to disappointment or confrontation.
However, confrontation is the only path that allows for a constructive and cooperative path forward. And yet, there is no guarantee that it will bring the desired solution.
While one can never be prepared for every situation, it still pays to prepare oneself. It feels nice to make a promise to keep everything shared confidential. But it will be more straightforward to make oneself aware of conflicting responsibilities that are relevant in the given relationship. And should they exist to name them and share how they could affect confidentiality.