Building Partnerships Through Trust

Trust is one of the most important building blocks of a relationship.  Whether it’s a friendship, a romantic relationship, or a business relationship, trust allows all parties involved to feel at ease and safe with one another.

Establishing Trust and Intimacy

Trust allows us to share our genuine selves with others without fear of being judged or ridiculed.  It also enables us to depend on one another and put confidence in our relationships.

Trust is earned.  When entering into a new relationship, we usually do so with a certain degree of guardedness.  We don’t immediately share our innermost thoughts and feelings, and we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable until the other person in the relationship has made us feel safe enough to do so.

Trust within your relationships with your coaching clients is just as important as it is in your personal relationships. The International Coach Federation identifies “Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client” as one of their core competencies. There are several ways to build a solid foundation of trust with a client. I’d like to review a few that I believe are critical for us as coaches when working with clients.

Be Genuine – Isn’t it refreshing to meet someone and immediately feel there is something so genuine, open, and “real” about the person that we are encouraged to be “real” with them too?  We walk away thinking, “Hey, this person really gets me!”  How do you demonstrate a genuine interest in your client?

Be Honest – Let’s start with the importance of covering the coaching agreement in detail – in written form and verbally before they sign.  Talk through the agreement. Engage the client in building the partnership.  At Christian Coach Institute, we train our students to cover the agreement before the client signs and before the client pays.  Help the client understand exactly what they can expect from you and what you expect from them.  What do you do to demonstrate honesty when building your coaching partnerships?

Be Respectful – Another way to build trust with your client is through a consistent demonstration of respect for their way of thinking, speaking, and “being.” Give them permission right up front to be authentic.  Your client wants to know, “Is it safe to be me when I’m with my coach?”

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10 (New Living Translation)

When a client comes to you for coaching, they are not only looking for help with the direction of their lives and achieving their goals.  They are also looking for someone they can trust and open up to without fear or hesitation.  The best coaches get to know their clients on an intimate level, learning their fears and failures, as well as their dreams for the future.  Therefore, it is our privilege and responsibility as their coaches to handle that information properly and develop a deep sense of trust and safety with our clients.

As Christian coaches, we are acting on behalf of God.  We are using the gifts He has blessed us with to coach and help others.  And by using our gifts faithfully, honestly, and with trust we not only help our clients, we honor God as well.

How do you establish trust in your coaching relationships?
When does building trust in coaching relationship begin?
How do you know if your client trusts you?

Janice LaVore FletcherJanice LaVore-Fletcher, PCC, CPCC, CMC is Founder and President of Christian Coach Institute and has a passion for helping coaches become confident, competent, and courageous coaches who are well prepared to step out boldly to do the work they feel GOD is calling them to do.  She is the Master Coach Trainer and her Certified Professional Life Coach course is accredited by ICF for 80 ICF Coach Specific Training hours and includes 5 ICF Group Mentor Hours.  Janice is also a Certified Mentor Coach, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and a commissioned Stephen Minister.  She shares years of knowledge and experience with her students.  Learn more about courses offered at

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