The first among the masteries is Trust. More fully, “Establishing and maintaining a relationship of trust.”1
Trust is the essential underpinning of every coaching conversation. It is a paired virtue – honesty on the left hand and competency on the right. When a surgeon recommends your appendix removed, you trust that they are honest about the necessity and not simply after the fee for a procedure. Further, once you are satisfied with their honesty, you must be certain about their competence before committing to the operation. You want to feel assured that you will still be alive afterward!
In some cultures, provided with the right conditions, people trust relatively quickly. In others, trust must be painstakingly earned. In either case, trust is a delicate and fragile matter.
The deep conversations of coaching can occur only in a high trust relationship. Trust is a complex perception involving cultural and interpersonal factors that vary from one circumstance and one individual to the next. A coachee might consider a coach’s formal education, specialized training and certification, relevant experience, age, gender, social, cultural and racial background. More personal factors will come into play, such as familiarity, proximity, even the mode of coaching. A prospective coachee might survey a coach’s online presence, references, previous clients and testimonials. Such small clues as the background of the room viewed through a webcam will contribute to the development or loss of trust.
During the coaching session, the coachee will listen to tone, pace and body language. He or she will perceive confidence and empathy. Presence and active listening during the coaching session are clues for trust, as are the coach’s ability to hear, understand, reflect and empower expression. They will be more trusting when the coach demonstrates meaningful support and resourcefulness.
After the coaching session, coachees respond to continued presence and interaction. Coaches who demonstrate presence, support and assistance between calls will be appreciated, and barriers will come down.
“There is one thing … which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love … that one thing is trust.”2 Stephen M.R. Covey
The IAC Masteries Ebook contains a concise approach to establishing, maintaining and perceiving trust in a coaching conversation. Being deeply trustworthy is more than commitment to a principle of morality. It involves practicing a set of skills over an extended period. It demands study and meditation, making mistakes and trying again. It requires the forgiveness of others and the forgiveness of self, letting go of pride and embracing courage, self-love and love for others. Earning the trust of others requires that we trust them, too.
Consider the list of effective behaviors in the IAC Masteries Ebook for establishing and maintaining trust: engaging active listening, acknowledging our own humanity and limitations, (i.e. humility and vulnerability), being alert to fear and doubt, giving assurance, uncovering dreams, asking probing questions and showing integrity in words and actions. And do it all in 30 minutes! That takes practiced skill.
Finally, allow me a closing word about practicing trust in both private and professional life. The foundational IAC principle of ‘living the masteries’ obligates us to infuse not only our coaching sessions, but all of our conversations, indeed our whole lives, with the principles and behaviors of trust. Trust is the acknowledgement of integrity in intention, word and action. Trust makes the whole become real, outcomes more certain and relationships genuine.
2. Covey, S.M.R. 2006. The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything. Free Press a Division of Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.
Ed Britton coaches expats and their families who live and work internationally as they adjust to unique and sometimes challenging cultural settings. He lives in Xiamen, Fujian province of China, just west of Taiwan, with his wife and two teen-aged sons. They are originally from Vancouver Island, Canada.
Looking to connect with IAC® ?
The IAC® is a community of progressive and diverse coaches. With coaches from 80 countries, and even more languages, from all walks of life, you’ll have no trouble finding a coach or colleague you can connect with. If you are a client, this is a great way to find the most masterful coaches in the world! *
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.