trust - 信任 - confianza – ukuthemba

noun – firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
synonyms: confidence, belief, faith, freedom from suspicion/doubt, sureness, certainty, certitude, assurance, conviction, credence, reliance

verb – believe in the reliability, truth, or ability of.
synonyms: have faith in, put/place one's trust in, have (every) confidence in, believe in, pin one's hopes/faith on, rely on, depend on, bank on, count on, be sure of, confide in

Trust lies as one of the roots of many coaching conversations, often starting with “a lack of”, progressing to, “a need for” and ending with “ways to build”.

Maister’s Trust Equation below summarizes the elements that build and could erode trust (details here)

David Maister’s Trust Equation©

The most common feedback from executives are that they are Reliable, believe they are Credible, not Self-Oriented at heart (but could be perceived to be) and finally, not sure what to do with Intimacy.

What I’ve learned is that most of us like to see trust as a constant and all encompassing i.e.

  1. we  are either trustworthy or not
  2. this is true for all aspects of our lives and the relationships we have

On top of that, no one believes s/he is not trustworthy.

Leading to the conundrum that if everyone is trustworthy, then there shouldn’t be any issue of trust.

In order to shed more light to this and get somewhere useful, I offer the following thoughts

  • Dispute the assumption that if I am trustworthy, then others should trust me
  • Remember that how I believe myself to be may be different from how I am perceived
  • My words and actions create the desired outcome, not just my intention
  • Each relationship is distinct and needs effort to build trust
  • Trust can be rebuilt, but takes time and conscious effort
  • When in doubt, ask-clarify-set intention and behave accordingly

Taking from my clients’ journeys, these are their steps:

  1. Identify someone they would like to build or repair trust with
  2. Pick one element (credibility, reliability, intimacy or self-orientation) to work on in relation to this person
  3. Define actions they can take
  4. Take the first easy step

A final tip that I often leave with them is that trust is built by making small promises and keeping them. Something that I do often is to offer to send my clients a resource (article, video link, quote) after our session and I send it. Seems simple?

Your turn. =)

Common Sense, Civic Consciousness and Compassion