How to build trust

How to build trust

How to build trust

The coaching relationship absolutely depends on trust. That’s it. No trust, no relationship. And then, no coaching. It’s no exaggeration to say that the ability to build trust and rapport is a key coaching skill. Particularly at the first meeting between coach and coachee – first impressions really do count.

So, what is trust?

Trust is an unspoken understanding that exists between two people who feel they can relate to each other. When two people interact, the success of that interaction, is very much built on each person’s ability to relate to the other. It is this ‘relating’ that is the foundation of trust, resulting in a feeling of ease which then translates into a smoother coaching process.

Basically, building trust is about showing the other person that you have something in common; an interest, a concern, an experience, a goal, something. As the level of trust builds, a more relaxed and informal atmosphere is generated in which both parties are more engaged and find it easier to contribute. In coaching, the basic common ground – the starting point – is the coachee’s goals for the coaching process.

How to do it

Here are your 7 Top Tips to build trust:

  1. Do whatever you need to in order to clear away any ‘mental clutter’ before starting: meditation, screaming, a cup of tea – as long as it’s legal, do it. If you’re distracted or stuck on your own concerns then you won’t be focused and the rapport and trust will suffer.
  2. Create a bridge as soon as possible. This can be as simple as exchanging a few pleasant words with the other person. At this early stage, it can be good to stay off-topic. That way, if there are any concerns about the coaching process, you’re not jeopardising anything by tapping into those concerns. Stick to a neutral topic and just break the ice.
  3. Listen well. If people feel listened to, they feel respected; and if you respect them, they’ll respect you. Mutual respect is a powerful trust-builder.
  4. Make good eye contact. Regular-but-not-constant eye contact says: confident, open and trustworthy. Avoiding eye contact just says shifty.
  5. Consider your physical position. In principle, you want to be close, but not invading their personal space.
  6. Use the other person’s language and jargon to demonstrate your understanding. This might be showing you’re aware of the computer system they use, the procedures/policies that cause them the most trouble, etc. Prepare beforehand by considering what might be appropriate to the coaching goals.
  7. Smile. It can be contagious. Smiling relaxes both parties, sends the endorphins rushing the brain, and so on… so long as the timing is appropriate, of course!

How do I know when I’ve got ‘It’?

Trust is a little like the proverbial elephant, you’ll know it when you see it (or rather, feel it). The specific feeling when you’ve got good rapport and trust with someone may vary but some common signs are:

  • you feel energetic
  • you’re genuinely interested in the person and their issues
  • there’s a buzz in the air – a sense of shared enthusiasm
  • both parties are very focused on the discussion

It’s worth taking time to reflect on past situations in which you felt trusting and trusted. If you know what your own ‘trust indicators’ are, then you’ll know what to aim for next time, and most importantly, how to recognise it when you have it.

Inspired? Then please give us a call on 01582 714280 to see whether we can be of service to you. We’re here to help!

Categories: Coaching

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