How to Build Trust (…and Destroy it in an Instant)

Become a better sales coach and sales manager today.

Do your employees trust you? Trust and loyalty are earned, not inherited. Learn how to build trust in practically every relationship through effective coaching.

8-Steps to Creating a Coaching Culture by Keith Rosen
At the conclusion of a training event that I delivered for a team of about 20 managers, one of their action steps at the end of the training was to introduce coaching to their team and enroll their salespeople in being coached on a consistent basis. About a week or so after the training was over, each manager emailed me to report on how their conversations went. 18 managers told me that their team was not only bought into being coached but were generally excited about the opportunity to get more personal time with their manager!

However, the emails that I received from the other two remaining managers did not sound as promising. These two managers felt that their team was not on board with the idea of being coached and experienced a general sense of resistance from them.

The question is, why? Was it that these two managers had a team of salespeople who just weren’t coachable?

I don’t think so.

After further due diligence and speaking in confidence with those two sales teams who were pushing back on being coached, it turned out that the real source of the issue came down to one thing; trust. For you to shine as a masterful coach, it cannot be overshadowed or clouded by doubt, fear or uncertainty that may exist in the hearts and minds of your people.

That’s why trust is the backbone of coaching. Without it, you’ll experience the same resistance from your team that these two managers did.

1.So the question is, do your people trust you?
2.How do you know? What is the evidence you see to support this? Are you the first person to know about a concern someone on your team has that’s inhibiting their performance or level of commitment to their job – or are you the last to find out?
3.Have you always been clear about your intentions when coaching or supporting them, or making changes, or did you leave it up to them to decipher?

Remember, listening to you and trusting you are two different things. Coaching by definition fosters a deeper connection, level of openness and transparency with your team. However, if there’s a lack of trust, if trust has been compromised in any way, if the ground rules for coaching were not clearly established up front, the coaching will not be as effective.

The real danger here is, now the manager runs the risk of assuming that it’s the coaching that does not work, rather than the fact that it is really is a trust issue.

What many managers fail to realize is, that there is strength in vulnerability, not weakness, as many would assume. It is an important component to building trust and strengthening the relationships you have with your team.

Coaches and managers, unlike superheroes, are humans, too, and making sure your humanity and authenticity is clear to your team is an important part of building a deeper level of trust. After all, you can’t fake authenticity.

The good news is, you have the power to rebuild and regain trust in practically every relationship and it all starts with having an open, honest conversation, while setting up the expectations of coaching and the rules of engagement right from the start. You can’t change the rules in the middle or at the end of the game, as that is a sure fire way to instantly erode trust.

Remember, trust and loyalty are earned, not inherited, so become mindful of those things that you need to stay away from that will erode the trust you need for your coaching to succeed and to foster a healthy, open coaching relationship from the start.

Stay tuned for my next post, when I list about twenty different activities and behaviors that managers engage in which compromise trust and your ability to deliver effective coaching that results in improved performance.

Photo Credit: Keith Nerdin