What is trust? How do we build trust? Can coaching help individuals build trust in their relationships at work and in life?
Trust is a fundamental part of the human relationship process. Those of us who experience trustful relationships know that it adds depth to the relationship as it allows one to have confidence and hope in something outside one self. Trust can be described as a belief in something, or a belief that we can rely or put confidence in something or someone. It is the ability to put faith in someone or something other than oneself. It gives us comfort, allows us to put significance in people or things and rids us of feelings of isolation.
Trust is a verb, an action word that requires one to take action to develop, maintain or rebuild trust by doing or saying something that encourages another to trust. In order for there to be trust in a relationship, there must be action from the parties involved to create an environment conducive to trust.
In order to build trust there must be transparency and openness. Trust is built when there is an absence of ambiguity in the exchange, when parties share openly, practice truth telling, inquiry, freedom of speech and honest interactions. Let’s examine trust building from Jane and Sally’s story.
Jane and Sally have been working together for the past five years and share some work responsibilities. Last summer the two had a disagreement, as a result, their work relationship has suffered. Sally had been off on stress leave for 8 weeks and part of her return to work requirement was a “Collaborative Response Plan” which required her to work with a coach. When asked what she would like her working relationship with Jane to look like upon her return, Sally promptly reported to her coach the she doesn’t trust Jane anymore.
Coaching is a relationship built on trust, due to the transparency and openness of the process. Transparency in coaching is the absence of ambiguity. As a client centered process, the coach is required to explain to the coachee how the coaching process will unfold. This creates equality and shared responsibility for the coaching relationship and the results.
When asked what she planned to do about the lack of trust in hers and Jane’s working relationship, Sally replied that she was not able to do anything without trust. Through working with her coach, Sally was able to begin taking small steps to initiate a trusting relationship with Jane. The first step was to initiate a conversation to establish openness in their working relationship. In this exchange they outlined steps to enhance transparency and reduce suspicion and also ways to create more opportunities for truth telling. Today, Jane and Sally are enjoying a healthy working relationship and Sally commented that: “I don’t dread going into work in the mornings anymore since I have confidence that Jane and I can share openly and deal with whatever arises in our work day. I feel that I can trust Jane now and I believe she feels the same”.
Are you in a relationship where trust is an issue?
Is this creating stress or joy in your life?
What is one thing you can do from Jane and Sally’s story?
Please share with our readers how you built trust in your relationship by posting a comment below.
Joyce Odidison is a Conflict Analyst, Coach, and founder of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc. & Coaching Institute. She consults, teaches and coaches with mid-career professionals and organizations to improve performance within the workplace. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 1-877-999-9591.