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.



Professional and Busines Alignment

Making sure that the wheels on your car are in alignment is standard automobile maintenance. The objective is twofold:

  • Reduce tire wear
  • Ensure that your vehicle travels straight and true without “pulling” to one side or another


Making sure that your company’s actions are congruent with a deliberate set of core values is standard for maintaining an effective business code of integrity. The objectives of a business set of core values include:

  • Stating what you stand for
  • Expressing where and how your company fits into the world
  • A statement that infers actions which always place your business within its definition of integrity
  • Telling others what you are about

One of my favorite activities to do at SoulSalt Inc. is to take individuals and businesses through a process of clarifying and defining their core value systems.
In particular I find it fascinating when entrepreneurs discover their core value systems because, without knowing it, their unique values often comprise the DNA that makes up the value system of their company.

One such case occurred with I was working with Jason Olsen, founder of Image Studio Salons. As his final three value cards were sorted out and defined he looked at the results and said:
“That’s cool. These somehow seem familiar.”
I walked over to my desk where I had a fresh new copy of his company brochure and handed it to him.
He laughed out loud. The same three core values sitting on his work station were same three that made up the core ideology of his business.


What’s even more exciting for me is when a culture “gets” the business core value system and lives it.
If you’d support in clarifying your business core values, let us know at or purchase our self-help e-book on the topic.


Victoria Gets Greater Clarity

Our coaching session today immediately evolved into a report about how one of Victoria’s discoveries turned into a powerful marketing document. This past week Victoria got quite clear around what she does and does not do in her new working role.

Victoria’s has always worried that when people hear that she is a coach she will be perceived as new-agey or guru-like. She has struggled with how to describe her more pragmatic orientation to coaching in her marketing efforts. Recalling a frustrating coaching experience that used the very approach she finds distasteful, she sat down in a burst of energy and identified what she DID NOT WANT TO BE for her future clients. The net results can be seen below:

When someone says professional or personal coach what comes to mind? Dream boards and discussions about finding your bliss? There are coaches out there who provide those important services for those who need them. However, if you are looking for someone who will spend the first 5-10 minutes of your coaching session reading you through a guided meditation to help you visualize success… I’m not your coach.


I am not touchy-feely. I am fiercely supportive.


I align my professional practice with my personal values – creativity, integrity, self-reflectivity accountability, teamwork and humor.


I am a deeply practical and pragmatic person who can help you use your hard earned investment wisely to pursue career and personal goals that align with your values.


If you’d like someone who can support you in your new leadership position, work with you to examine your professional path in light of your changing personal values at mid-career or just find a way to be more productive in spite of your constantly shifting day, then I’m the one you want to talk to.


Are you an overwhelmed first time executive?  I can help you navigate the complexities of your leadership role while setting realistic goals for your organization.


Are you experiencing a career transition? We can use your “in-between time” meaningfully, creating and implementing a plan that prepares you for your next position.


Or maybe you are re-evaluating your life’s work at mid-career and need someone to help you clarify your values, align them with a personal mission and create a plan for tomorrow.


I will never ask you to close your eyes and imagine your perfect anything.


I will ask you questions that lead to good old fashion dialogue and a plan that will help you successfully address your most pressing needs.


Let’s work together. Call me for a free coaching consultation.



Now that you have read this entry, if you or someone you know needs Victoria’s help I suggest you connect immediately. You can find her at: 619-540-2925 or

To read the next entry of Victoria’s story click here.

To start at the beginning of Victoria’s story click here.