If you are self-coaching or coaching yourself, how to create a relationship of trust with your client is not an issue. However, creating rapport is essential when you want to coach a client. How can we help develop a trusting relationship with clients?
We constantly determine whether we are similar or different from others. Mostly our intuition determines whether we have affinities or not with a person and this is no different with a coach. A client seeking a coaching relationship is evaluating whether s/he can have confidence in the coach?
Will our coach understand us? Are there risks that the relationship is not a safe one? If the coach resembles a person you the client abhors, the coach is unlikely to continue the relationship. Most relationships build with time but as a coach, you might be introduced to a potential client and have 30 minutes to establish a working relationship.
A rule of thumb
As a rule of thumb, 10% of people you coach would never want to work with you. Another ten percent of people you meet, you have an immediate affinity, or you admire and respect them. It’s you fan club. Therefore, you have 80% of people left to sway into a relationship of confidence that will allow a productive and beneficial coaching relationship. How might we accelerate a positive connection with these 80% of people?
I specialize in coaching brilliant and abrasive leaders, and these leaders are not seeking any coaching. Therefore, this initial relationship is a go-no-go coaching situation. It is also increasingly more prevalent that companies send two coaches for the leaders to select the coach they want to work with.
Yes, corporate coaches also choose their clients. If I feel or intuit that the leader has underlying pathological issues or has an addiction, I recommend a specialist and decline working with the leader.
So what are three tips to accelerate a trusting relationship? Coachu.com states that trust is possible when three elements are in place.
When coaching, we need to focus on the leader’s goals, objectives and definition of success. The coaching process is to be geared to move the leader forward along a higher path of development, towards his/her answers and towards the actions to reach his or her goals.
REASON TO WORK TOGETHER
Coaching is successful when an established reason to work together and when mutual respect between the coach and the leader exists.
The coach uses words for ease of understanding and relevance to the leader’s unique situation. Use words sparingly. Words should not be judgmental in nature and are delivered in a neutral manner in order that they may be fully heard and accepted by the leader, only then is a coaching relationship possible.
As a judgment often comes from having different value systems between the leader and the coach, it is more challenging to keep in check one’s values and assumptions.
For example, Peter works a nine to five work schedule and complains to me, his coach, who works 12 hours a day that he did not get the promised promotion. In this case, I avoid assuming it is because Peter does not work enough. My assumption might be if I work hard, one gets ahead. Peter’s assumption might be if you work more strategically you get ahead. Or maybe he is a single parent and has three children to take care of at home. The coach must keep an inquisitive, research-oriented mindset. The coach should be ready to discover new approaches and use open-ended questions to inquire about the situation in a non-threatening way. An open mind combined with the open-ended questioning technique will go a long way in setting a good coaching relationship.
In this blog
In this blog, we have reviewed the importance to focus on a leader’s goals, on having mutual respect and a clear idea why the coaching is taking place. It is imperative to adapt one’s communication to the leader’s situation and style. If you are coaching a college professor, you will not use the same vocabulary as when coaching a 15-year-old. Finally, it is critical not to project any judgment. Using an open mindset with open-ended questions is a wonderful way to explore an issue in a non-judgmental way.