Research Paper By Iva Mishra
(Life & Business Coach, UNITED STATES)
Every day we wake up in the morning, get ready for the day and then arrive at work. Upon entering our workplace, several things await us each day. However one of the biggest and perhaps most important underlying framework is trust amongst colleagues. Trust is the glue that keeps a workplace together. How do we grow trust using our coaching skills and tools? According to David Bowman, Human Resources Expert, at TTG Consultants, there are several ways trust can be built in the workplace. I will focus on the five methods integrating coaching in building and maintaining trust.
These are the five ways mentioned by David::
- Establish and maintain integrity. It is the foundation of trust in any organization and coaching. Integrity should be seen at all levels in organizations. As coaches integrity is of very high value to us and it means, among other things, keeping promises and always telling the truth, no matter how difficult it might be. If people have integrity, an organization can be believed and in turn trusted.
- Communicate mission vision and values. Communication is key as it provides the artery for information and truth to flow. By communicating the organization’s vision, mission and values are clear and coach it defines the framework in which coaching will be delivered to its component.
- Consider all employees as equal partners. Trust is established when even the newest rookie, a part-timer, or the lowest paid employee feels important and part of the team. The values an individual creates is very high as part of organization. This should be the basis of coaching to bring the highest possibility in that individual. Having that neutrality and openness creates a fertile ground to open an individual and help them blossom. It also helps to integrate the management and leadership with workers at all level, creating a horizontal playing field.
- Focus on shared, rather than personal goals. In coaching we can work on goals which are aligned with the larger company goals. This provides a better alignment and offers an opportunity of the individuality to shine through it. When employees feel everyone is pulling together to accomplish a shared vision it creates trust. This is the essence of teamwork. When a team really works, the players trust one another.
- Do what’s right, regardless of personal risk. We all know intuitively what’s “right” in nearly every situation. Coaching to foster and encourage that courage is key. It allows people to follow this instinctive sense, and think about larger group than person biases. It will nearly always create respect from those around us. From this respect will come trust in the organization and work environment
As we know trust is absolutely a crucial element for a successful working environment. A leader must be proactive in coaching to create and most importantly, promote trust among all of the members. Trust building needs to start at the top. A leader, manager and coach should be neutral, mature and be very careful when around people who engage in politics or gossip. Everyone should be treated equally the same and of course, always fairly. If there is an employee who you absolutely cannot tolerate and another worker who you love so much that you wish everyone was just like that person, you must be very careful and treat them both exactly the same. Integrity and impartiality are like gold – valued, desired, and very rare. As a coach we have to show this high level of integrity, emotional intelligence and balance.
Other elements in creating and maintaining trust are honesty and information sharing. When any situation presents itself, it is imperative for a manager and coach to be seen as genuinely caring for those individuals who are involved – use excellent judgment and seek advice from the HR Department if necessary. Employees will trust you if you are seen as sincerely keeping them informed, as honestly as possible. If possible, don’t keep secrets. As a coach it is important to be supportive and neutral.
And this may seem obvious, but is often overlooked or not thought of as being very important at all: never, ever mock or make fun of anyone. Respect can be learned to be the rule of the work place when managers reinforce it by their actions. Past studies have shown that employees, who innocently engage in such petty behaviors as making fun of personal items sitting on someone’s desk, can open the door for allowing others to disrespect, tease, and even invalidate their coworkers.
Caring for your employees is also an excellent way to build trust. Let them know that you are sincerely interested in them, and seek ways to improve the time they spend at work. Take risks for them, develop and publish supportive work place policies that will improve and help them. Engage in team building activities and encourage events which occur during off work time (such as soft ball games, volunteering opportunities, etc.)
During the time you spend with your employees, eventually one of them will have a situation which is going to be challenging. This may be something as simple as a missed day from work due to a child’s illness or more complicated like the death of a parent. When these events happen, they are opportunities for a coach to show up their support to that worker. Additionally, the other employees will observe how you handle the situation and they will talk about you, for years to come. Don’t miss a chance to let them know that they can trust you.
Just as important as it is to build trust, as a manager you must understand the roots of what may be termed, “Untrustworthiness.” Employees may feel insecure about trust for several reasons. One of the main causes is a feeling that there is no positive relationship or attachment to you. This can be easily corrected by spending time simply talking to each of your employees on an individual basis. Whether you are sincerely interested in them or not, you must make an effort to appear to be so. Ask questions to discover their personal interests, family situations, et cetera, to engage them in a conversation. Remember to return a few days later, continuing the relationship.
Another main source of untrustworthiness is lack of inclusion. Many times an employee perceives a situation which may or may not be accurate. Studies have shown that it is very easy for employees to feel as though they are outcasts, unwanted, even hated, when in fact they are not, owing to simple misunderstandings. You absolutely have to make sure that everyone in your work group is included in as many activities as possible. If you don’t have naturally occurring work place situations for this, you may decide to artificially create a task requiring all members of the work group to participate. Be sure to recognize each employee in front of the group, as well as in private.
If employees perceive they are vulnerable or at risk for disrespect, demotion, even termination, untrustworthiness can be present, and worse, these feelings can be contagious among group members. As a coach manger, it is important for you to make a conscious effort to reassure your employees, every chance you have. Never treat all of your employees with anything but respect and manners. Never terminate an employee over a misunderstanding or for a petty offense. Make each person in your workgroup feel special, important, and most importantly, valued for skills they possess and for the human being they are.
Building trust is an ongoing activity. One of the main considerations is communication. Using our coaching skills we can easily help build trust in work environment. This may seem like a no-brainer, while managing we can get so caught up in the actual work, that we may forget to focus on the worker. Communication in coaching runs both ways, from you and from the workers. Voicing your opinion is important, and equally so is allowing the worker to voice his opinion, and actively listening to understand why he has a particular view. Using powerful simple questions we can use an easy process; asking simple open-ended questions can help, “What do you think about this?” can help you discover his beliefs, underlying assumptions, his reasoning, et cetera. Let him know that you support him by showing a sincere attitude of wanting to understand and learn. Use positive reinforcement to help employees get over their fault with whatever the employee discloses, it’s important to be supportive.
While trust is something that is so important, you can’t easily obtain it. You can’t see it, you can’t buy it, and you can’t just snap your finger and make it happen. It is difficult, but as a Leader, manager or coach you can make a conscious effort to use your coaching skills for not only be seen as trustworthy so as to create trust, but you must work to develop Trust. Your employees will watch you and whether you realize it or not, you will be a role model. Coaching skills are marvelous tools to supplement your other leadership and managerial skills