In a recent Coaching for Results workshop, a senior leader complained that he had done everything right in coaching his employee: he assessed her performance against pre-agreed expectations; asked his employee for her views; gave timely, constructive feedback; and collaboratively developed a plan to move forward. Yet the employee’s performance continued to falter.
This was my cue to ask about their relationship and especially about the extent to which they trusted and respected each other. George (as I will call him) looked puzzled. I turned to the rest of the group and asked how many agree with the statement: “Without trust there can be no coaching”? (from “The Leader as Coach” by David B. Peterson and Mary Dee Hicks). All 21 participants quickly agreed that it was a true statement.
Trust is a critical competency for everyone in business today. In the recent book “Smart Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey, Greg Link and Rebecca R. Merrill, the authors present a compelling “business case for trust”.
How can we build more trusting relationships with those around us?
Here are 5 tips:
- Show confidence in others’ skills and in their potential to grow and develop.
- Be open, honest and direct, especially when the going gets tough.
- Do what you say you will do: walk the talk.
- Respect confidences.
- Reveal your vulnerability: admit your mistakes and shortcomings.
As for “George”, he cited our discussion as a game-changing moment and publicly committed to stopping two behaviours that undermined his trustworthiness.