Establishing Trust & Intimacy With The Client – ICF Core Competency No. Three

How does establishing trust and intimacy with the client as a life coach contribute to a successful coaching partnership? In this article, we will take a look at this third ICF Core Competency and understand its importance in the coaching partnership.

Establishing Trust & Intimacy With The Client – ICF Core Competency No. Three

The ICF Core Competencies

The International Coach Federation (ICF) established eleven core coaching competencies that were developed to support a broader understanding of the skills and approaches used within today’s coaching profession. They will also support coaches in calibrating the level of alignment between the coach-specific training expected and the training they have experienced. The Core Competencies are grouped into four clusters according to those that fit together logically based on common ways of looking at the competencies in each group. Of those eleven competencies, you have the third core competency grouped under the second category which states, “Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client—Ability to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust.”

Co-Creating The Relationship – Establishing Trust And Intimacy With The Client

What does this signify?

According to the ICF, it signifies the ability to promote a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust. To foster a positive and trusting relationship with your coaching clients, it is important to create an environment that will encourage your client to feel comfortable (at ease) and open up to you about their fears, worries, and goals they desire to achieve.

To establish and continually maintain a trusting and intimate relationship with your coaching clients, the ICF states, you must:

1. Show genuine concern for the client’s welfare and future – Be interested in what they care about; show that you care about your life and their life pursuits.

2. Continuously demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity – Throughout the coaching partnership, be respectful, courteous, trusting and a person of integrity.

3. Establish clear agreements and keep promises – From the onset of the coaching relationship, be clear on your expectations for both sides, and do not make promises you cannot keep. Be effective in your communication and be real with your clients. Transparency goes a long way in building trust with your clients.

4. Demonstrate respect for the client’s perceptions, learning style, personal being – Be respectful of your client’s belief system, individuality, struggles, be nonjudgmental.

5. Provide ongoing support for and champions new behaviors and actions, including those involving risk-taking and fear of failure – Be supportive of your clients in their efforts to try out new behaviors and ways of implementing things.

6. Ask permission to coach clients in sensitive, new areas – Repeatedly seek permission before you launch out into new territories with your client. Do not just assume they will be okay with where you are taking them or with what you are introducing them to.

It is not easy to trust an absolute stranger; that is who you are to your coaching client at the initial coaching session. Trust and intimacy in any relationship take time to mature; it is a process. As a life coach, it is your responsibility to take the lead in establishing trust and intimacy with the client. Be intentional in creating a safe and supportive atmosphere for your coaching client so that they can experience the transformation that they desire and deserve.

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Peggy Adegoke
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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