Coaching the Creative

Establishing Trust, a Coach’s Perspective

Being able to establish trust and the sort of intimacy needed to properly coach clients is a required skill.

Some coaches are born with this ability, many of us are not. We have to learn it.

What brought this topic of trust to the fore-front was that I have spent most of this week in two coach-training events. One for a corporate client and the other group was blended between independent coaches intending to create their own practice and managers in small businesses.

I witnessed evidence of high trust on a palpable, moving level in the later group. (Since I’m not finished training the corporate group, I’m not ready to talk about their level of trust at this time.)

The exercise you are about to witness was a simple warm-up to training these coaches how to use effective feedback tools.

I took the group outside and asked them to place their toes on a fresh, white, chalk line designating the edge of a soccer field.

Directing the group to place their toes on the line, I showed them the blindfolds that we would be using for this activity and explained that half of them would need to be blindfolded and then led to a designation that only their guide would get to know.

I made sure that they understood that they didn’t have to be blind folded for this activity if they felt uncomfortable. I asked that only those people that could totally trust anyone in the group to be their guide remain on the line. Astoundingly, nobody stepped off the line. Everyone was willing to be guided by anyone else in the group.


How do I explain such trust within this group after only two days of working together?

The first thought I have is that these individuals came with confidence and the ability to trust simply because of who they are.

My next hunch is that we already had a bond between me and the individuals. All but one of the clients was someone I had coached, trained or had taken time to visit with over coffee.

Additionally, l believe that trust was high due to applying the following traits and skills during time spent before the training but also within the methodology of the training itself.

Let me share these items as a bullet list of ways to “be” (versus “act as if”) if you want to establish trust and grow intimacy:

  • Have genuine concern for the other person’s welfare and future.
  • Continually practice and demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity.
  • Establish clear agreements.
  • Keep promises.
  • Have respect for and demonstrate this toward the other person’s learning style, perceptions and personal being.
  • Provide ongoing support and champion this person and their projects, dreams and ideas.
  • Ask permission to have conversations within sensitive areas.



Leave a Reply