Quick Coaching Tools – Trust

Trust starts to happen when you have achieved a congruence between your personal beliefs, values and leadership behaviours.


Trust is one of my Quick Coaching Tools. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of coaching tips, tools and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your coaching practice and professionalism. You could call it coaching in a hurry!

What & Why

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is quoted as saying: “He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted”.

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric is quoted as saying in his book ‘Winning’: “Trust happens when leaders are transparent, candid and keep their word. It’s that simple”.

It all starts with you. Taking the spirit of the first quote from Lao Tzu; if you are not trusting others you are less likely to be trusted yourself. And the opposite of being trusted is suspicion. Trusting is: ‘acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation’ and to be trusted is: ‘the state of being responsible for someone or something’. This links to the second quote; you have a responsibility as a leader – call it ‘visible integrity’ – to live up to the principles embodied in Jack Welch’s simple summary of trust. This cannot be faked. Because of this trust starts to happen when you have achieved a congruence between your personal beliefs, values and leadership behaviours. So there needs to be a red thread running through these principles.


As for ‘how’, here are some practical principles you can follow to engender trust in a coaching relationship:

  • High-trusting relationships develop based on observable behaviours like reliability, openness, the ability to empathize, credibility, acting consistently and following through on commitments.
  • The most effective way to build and sustain an environment of trust – and therefore, a feedback-rich and high-performance environment – is through your own behaviour.
  • You can strengthen existing relationships by exhibiting trustworthy behaviours yourself and cultivating those behaviours in others.
  • Building trust is really a matter of managing your own behaviour. So, in that respect, it is controllable and a skill that can be learned.
  • And mutual trust – between you and your direct reports – is based on your confidence in the ability of others to perform well, matched by their confidence in your commitment to the relationship and achieving business priorities.

Further Reading: ‘Techniques – Building Trust and Rapport’ in the Coaches Toolkit (for Blog subscribers)

Author: Trevor Sherman

Trevor Sherman: Author, Blogger and Coach. What do I do? I develop leadership training material and personal learning modules. I am the owner and operator of this Blog. I coach senior executives for their development and role transition. I am based in Northamptonshire UK and operate globally - in person and through technology.

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