As an ICF certified coach, I abide by the 11 ICF Core Competencies.

ICF says “These competencies were developed to support greater understanding about the skills and approaches used within today’s coaching profession as defined by the International Coach Federation.”

Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client is competency number three. What does this competency mean?

Establishing trust and intimacy means the coach will create a safe secure supportive environment that actualizes open-ended collective respect and trust.

Trust and intimacy is about the client and coach being vulnerable and humble. Being willing to say what’s on their minds, doing no harm, without an agenda or judgement.

How long does it to take to establish trust and intimacy? That depends. There isn’t a timeline. This unique bond is an organic process.

With one client, on our very first call, I asked them a question geared towards helping them what they wanted to achieve by the end of the session. (Also known as the coaching agreement.) I don’t remember specifically what I asked. I do remember I lobbed the benign question to the client in a neutrally charged manner. After ten seconds of silence, the coaching client began to cry. There’s your trust and intimacy.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these words spoken by a coaching client: “I’m not sure why I’m telling you this. I’ve never shared this with anyone else before.” Trust and intimacy.

At the end of a session, I’ll ask the client what they’re taking away from our conversation. A common response is: “Steve, thanks for giving me a safe space to share my thoughts.” Trust and intimacy.

If you enter a relationship thinking the other person is broken, you’ve already compromised the possibility of reaching a high level of trust before you even begin.

Trust and intimacy is a two way street. Yes of course, the client needs to trust me as their coach. That I’ll treat them with honor and respect. I also need to trust the client. Trust they have the courage to go to their room of enlightenment to face the truth and come out the other side with awareness and action.

I’m mesmerized with the video “Why Trust Is Worth It” by Ze Frank, an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker based in LA California.

Ze Frank says we’ll achieve trust quicker by letting go:

And what it affords us is a luxury. It allows us to stop thinking, to stop worrying that someone won’t catch us if we fall, to stop constantly scanning for inconsistencies, to stop wondering how other people act when they’re not in our presence. It allows us to relax a part of our minds, so that we can focus on what’s in front of us, and that’s why it’s such a tragedy when it’s broken.

What did you take away from  the video, “Why Trust Is Worth It” by Ze Frank?

In what ways can you accelerate trust and make it flourish?

Photo credit Rakib Hasan Sumon.



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