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Supporting the Establishment of Trust and Respect

Leadership coaching is fascinating as it has built-in qualities to support the establishment of trust and respect. It is in the very DNA of the belief system that forms and develops our coaching approach and style.

We know that coaching is far more than asking open-ended questions. At The Leadership Coaches, we have worked with leaders whose beliefs concerning how things get done meant that any advantage of asking an open question was quickly undermined by the desire to reach a particular outcome and for that outcome to be done in a specific way.

Unfortunately, this becomes an uncomfortable game of “guess the answer I have in my head” that causes demotivation, disillusionment, and frustration on the part of the line report. As a result, we could argue that this approach is disrespectful and weakens trust.

In contrast, a belief system that supports a coaching approach is one that:

  • trusts in the hidden potential of others.

  • seeks to promote learning and development.

  • creates psychological safety.

  • listens deeply and empathetically.

  • build confidence.

  • embraces mistakes.

  • empowers.

Such a belief system sees this as the route to high performance. When we ask an open question with this belief system, we ask it for entirely different reasons and outcomes.

If you are hoping to enhance trust and respect within your organisation, we share how leadership coaching can support the establishment of trust and respect in this blog.

What Are We Respecting When We Coach?

When it comes to considering how leadership coaching can support the establishment of trust and respect, it's important to uncover what exactly we are respecting when we coach.

When we hold the beliefs and values that work in tandem with a coaching style, we are often respecting:

  • The thinking and ideas of others.

  • The culture and diversity of others.

  • The unique contribution that others can make.

  • The hidden potential within others to excel.

  • The prospect of others going beyond where we have reached.

  • The future capacity and capability of others.

  • The ability of others to find their own solutions.

  • That ability of others to produce outstanding work in their own way.

This respect sends a clear message that we trust others to do great work and that we believe in them. This article by Indeed looks at the broader view of respecting others and shares some interesting ideas.

How Can Leadership Coaching Support the Establishment of Respect and Trust in One-to-One Meetings?

When in a one-to-one meeting, who establishes the agenda? How much of this is led by the line report? Who does the most talking? How do you show that you are listening?

Without a doubt, there are the needs of the organisation, team, and project, and these must be kept on track. Using a coaching approach, this can be maintained whilst also respecting the ideas, methods, and mistakes of our line reports. In turn, we can build trust in individuals and the team and what they do.

Open questions asked with a coaching belief approach that we could use here include:

  • What is on your mind?

  • What would you do if you were to be brave and take a risk?

  • What have you done already?

  • What are you holding back from saying or doing?

  • I think you can stretch yourself more; if you were to set yourself a real challenge, what would that look like?

  • When this is brilliant, what would that look like?

  • What would you see happening?

  • What would you hear people saying? How would it feel?

To keep things on track, you may like to ask, “How does this line in with the overall objectives and outcomes?” or “How does this meet the original aims for this project?”

What about showing that we are listening? Summarising, paraphrasing, and asking, “When you say [insert word], what do you mean by that?” are recommended.

How Can Leadership Coaching Support the Establishment of Respect and Trust in Team Meetings?

Team meetings have more dynamic interactions than one-to-one meetings. This may seem obvious, but when we stop to consider how this works in practice, it becomes clear that team meetings require a very different coaching approach.

If there are eight people in a meeting, unlike the two interactions in a one-to-one meeting, there are 64 interactions taking place - too many for any one person to be aware of and respond to. If we are not careful, this could lead us to control the meeting to a greater degree than is beneficial for establishing respect and trust.

Some questions that are worth asking about in our meetings when we take a coaching belief and approach are:

  • Who is being listened to?

  • Who has the greatest say?

  • Who is not listened to or heard?

  • Who does not have a say?

  • Who has a voice in this meeting, and who is heard?

  • How much is the thinking of each person respected?

  • Do some people receive follow-up to their points and ideas, and other people do not?

  • How much healthy opposition happens in our meetings?

  • What things are not said in our meetings?

  • How many times have people held back from saying something in the past few months that they wish they had been able to say?

These questions help form a good foundation for respect and trust in our team meetings, to which we can apply coaching principles and approaches. Ideally, our teams will experience team coaching that enables the team to self-coach, which is explored in our blog, FAQs on Team Coaching”.

Team coaching is expertly explored by David Clutterbuck in his book, “Coaching the Team at Work”, where he creates a model for exploring purpose, external processes, relationships, internal processes, learning, and leadership (PERILL). This is one model we use here at The Leadership Coaches when coaching.

In team meetings, consider the following coaching approaches to support the establishment of trust and respect:

  • Complete an agreement on how we work together in meetings.

  • Allow thinking time before and during meetings.

  • Value listening by having times when people talk uninterrupted.

  • Ensure the loudest and most pervasive do not dominate.

  • Promote slower, considered thinking rather than quick on-the-spot responses.

  • Ensure that diversity of thinking and lived experience has a seat at the table and a voice that is heard.


In this blog, we have explored how leadership coaching can support the establishment of trust and respect. We have seen how this is in the very DNA of a coaching belief and what respect and trust look like through a coaching lens.

Contact Us Today

Here at The Leadership Coaches, we are coaching experts. We develop a coaching style for leaders on a one-to-one basis and provide team coaching.

Book a complimentary call with us today to learn more about how our expert coaching services can support you in establishing trust and respect throughout your organisation.

Written by leadership coach Ian.


“Respect in the workplace”, by Indeed

“Coaching the Team at Work” by David Clutterbuck


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