Module 7: The Importance of Trust

Module Seven: The Importance of Trust

In your coaching session with your employees, you will discover many times things about your employee that are personal and sensitive topics. This is normal and demonstrates trust in you. As their coach, establishing and maintaining trust is the most essential ingredient to the entire process. If your employee determines that your purpose of improving their performance is to further your career, then they will not trust you. Without trust, whatever you say and do will be subject to skepticism.

This module discusses the meaning of trust, its relationship to coaching and building trust. Building trust must be a sincere desire in you. It requires an investment in time and emotion. Anything less will not foster a trusting relationship between you and your employee. First, let us begin by defining what trust is.

What is Trust?

In the next couple of lessons, we are going to discuss trust. Coaching should be a place where you and your employee can discuss things openly. Having a trusting relationship with your employees is essential to the coaching process. Without trust, you will seldom get to the root cause of issues that could be hindering their performance.

Trust is built over time and is accomplished through your actions. Trust, in the realm of coaching, could be defined as the ability to instill confidence, and reliance in you by being fair, truthful, honorable, and competent in what you do as a manager. Lacking in any of these areas could hinder you instilling trust into your employees.

Let us look at how trust works in coaching.

Trust and Coaching

Effective coaching is done in a trusting environment. There is no doubt about this. In order for you to be able to inspire your employees to perform better, they have to trust you. Your coaching session is the only opportunity to demonstrate to them that they can trust you because you use the coaching session as a tool for building up employees and not tearing them down.

Avoid using your coach session as a venue to deliver reprimands, sanctions, bad news, etc. This is not the place for that kind of information. In addition, avoid using coaching when only negative things need to be addressed. Coaching should be a purposeful event that happens regularly and is void of negative information. This is not to say you cannot discuss performance issues. It just has to be presented in a way that speaks of development than of punishment.

When coaching, we should avoid being a DOPE, or

  • Degrading your employees
    • Using negative words like stupid, lazy, slacker, etc.
  • Ostracizing your employee
    • Using coaching sessions only as a means for disciplinary action
  • Punishing your employee
    • Using sessions to deliver sanctions or firing them
  • Evaluating your employee
    • Telling employees that they are the worst performer,
    • Why can’t they be like the other good employees, etc.

Make coaching a haven for encouragement and development and not a place for stress and discouragement. Without trust, you will not be able to coach well. Next, let us look at how to build trust.

Building Trust

Building trust takes practice and dedication to being sensitive to your employee’s needs. Here are eight steps to building trust with your employees in and out of the coaching session:

  1. Maintain positive body language
  2. Listen to them intently and speak less
  3. Always respect your employees
  4. Keep things confidential
  5. Keep your promises
  6. Be honest and transparent
  7. Be confident
  8. Tell them you believe in them

Next, let us learn ways to provide feedback in a positive yet serious manner.

Case Study

Ringo was an active sales coach for the company, and knew how to gain and keep the trust of other employees. He knew that without it, the entire coaching process would be compromised. He never spoke harshly or negatively to the employee he was coaching, and was always completely honest with them. He found that the more he respected and trusted the employee, the more the employee respected and trusted him. This genuine attitude helped make Ringo a more effective and helpful coach to the employees and made them better employees as well.