Three Parts of Trust …

Trust Fall - 1 on 1 - Presenter MediaI USED TO HANG OUT IN THE WOODS AND FALL DOWN A  LOT …

At several points in my life, I have been deeply involved in experiential group learning … translated, that means I used to camp out in the woods with my staff or a group engaging in creative and challenging exercises, with hours of debriefing afterward.  We would experience and then process how the group communicated, made decisions, and worked together.

People faced with uncommon issues and problems can gain insight into themselves and their strengths and values, along with learning how to better interact with and appreciate the contributions of others.

Most of the exercises involved some level of trust between individuals.   A trust fall is a common way to display or build trust.  One person falls backward, hopefully into the waiting arms of another or others.  This can be terrifying the first time a person experiences literally letting go and trusting someone else to keep them safe.

Even when a person is on what we call High Challenges (ROPES terminology), all alone on a pole or beam high above everyone else, trust still matters.   You are tethered to a rope which another person on the ground holds, ready to help you keep your balance or lower you safely if you start to fall.

The ability of the person up there to recognize and trust the person holding their safety rope is essential.  Feeling safe enough to risk, since the perception of falling is still strong, even when you have a strong rope anchored to you and are in little real danger.  Trusting that person on the ground is critical.


It strikes me that leadership and life coaching is something like those outdoor learning experiences.  Trust is also an essential ingredient in the coaching relationship, and trust is developed within three related, but distinct categories:


As the coach , I must believe that my experience and skills are adequate to the challenge of helping another grow intentionally and in a positive direction.

As the client, I must develop the belief that I am capable of intentional and positive change, with discernment and support.


As the coach, I must trust the coaching process includes everything needed for me to help another engage in intentional and positive change on multiple levels.

As the client, I must trust the coaching process will help me develop confidence, courage, and clarity of vision.


As the coach, I must trust the client.

As the client,  I must trust the coach.

This is the type of trust we tend to think of first, but in truth, trusting each other is both a combination of the first two types of trust and the interaction of personal chemistry.   

It’s sort of like magic how all this comes together to create a relationship of trust…

Hoping that this provides value to someone today in the Heartland …


Image: Presenter Media