A coaching relationship can be a powerful tool to one’s personal growth and forward movement. The client or coachee has the ability to face all the personal obstacles with confidence, knowing that this is a safe place to fall apart, admit faults, and chance a crazy suggestion one would otherwise bury deep. The key to building the perfect coaching relationship is all about building trust.
This certainly isn’t done in the first session, at least not likely. This can take time and work on the part of both the coach and the coachee. Both must be honest and open to allowing the conversation to go where it will, diving in and out of topics, going between the shallows and the deep. They must dance in the moment, let the current take them, and listen deeply.
The coach doesn’t have to be an expert in the coachee’s issue, but will be in charge of navigating the course in many ways. The coachee expects the coach to be honest and insightful during the conversation. The coach may hear an inflection or hesitation during a topic. This is an opportunity to pause and point it out to the coachee, who may then explore the moment and something important could be discovered. Maybe there is apprehension which was otherwise ignored and addressing it now opens doors the coachee never considered.
Being coached is like looking in a mirror, except the mirror reflects thoughts. This can help the coachee see the direction of thoughts and where they may lead. The coach also allows a safe place to explore these thoughts, encouraging and challenging the coachee to go deeper, even wildly until a reasonable and sometimes brand new opportunity arises. This can be an ‘aha’ moment for the coachee and ground-breaking in the process.
The coach is building trust with the coachee which will allow deeper conversations and more breakthroughs and ‘aha’ moments. Many thoughts and feelings will never be admitted if this trust doesn’t exist. If the coachee holds back, the coach has no direction to go and, therefore, little is accomplished. It’s like riding down a river until a blockade stops you, and you can’t move past it until it’s taken down. Coaches must work to let coachees remove their blockades so that honest, generous conversations can take place.
Building trust takes place from the first session and is maintained throughout a healthy coaching relationship. In the first session, the coach explains the process of coaching, then sessions later, a coach will honestly point out obstacles. The coach may not want to point out a coachee’s unwillingness to try something on the very first session, especially if the coachee seems apprehensive. The coach may, however, ask about a coachee’s feelings toward something and simply listen. Over time, the coach will build trust and speak more openly.
Building trust is the pinnacle of any coaching relationship, and truly any relationship. When both parties trust each other, we can expect open and honest dialogue to produce positive results. Coaches strive to build trust through honesty and patience to allow coachees to continue to grow and excel beyond their goals.