Creating Trust in Coaching Relationships



I really like the quote above by Stephen Covey about trust.  It reminds me that in order to be effective in relationships trust must be present.  This week our triggering question was based off of “What role do communication and collaboration skills play in successful coaching?” I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how trust plays a role in relationships….especially in professional ones and as a peer coach.  Therefore, my triggering question for this module is:

What are some of the best practices for building trust in coaching relationships?

There are many reasons why trust is so important in coaching relationships.  In general, in order to maintain any level of communication with someone, you first have to know that you can trust them with the information you are giving them.  This is especially true in a situation where a teacher is allowing themselves to be vulnerable and open themselves up to a coach who is their to help them improve.

ISTE Standard 2

Focusing on building trust can be categorized under ISTE Standard 2: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

f. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences

In order for coaches to do their job of helping teachers to incorporate researched-based best practices they have to have that foundation of trust before they can move forwards.

While searching for answers to my question there are a few articles and resources that I have discovered that have helped to uncover some of the ways of building trust.

How Can We Build Trust?

In “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration,” Foltos talks about building collaboration norms as a way of conducting peer coaching meetings.  These norms help to set expectations and boundaries for each interaction and can help to build trust in the coaching relationship.  An example of this from the book would be “to start and end on time” as well as “stay on agenda.”  In my future meeting with my coaching partner creating norms will be one of the first things that I will focus on and I believe it will be one of the key ways to build trust from the start.

A website I found called “A Coach’s Toolkit: Three Ways to Build Trust” describes three ways to build trust as a coach.  One of the ways is to respect the teacher’s privacy or maintain their confidentiality.  If a teacher is feels that what they are saying is being relayed to an administrator or talked about with other colleagues without permission, than the teacher would be less likely to open up and share how they are feeling which can be a huge barrier to gaining trust.

Another way to build trust is to refrain from judgement.  The author talks about that the teacher needs to feel they can be observed without the coach telling them every thing they are doing wrong.  Instead, the coach should offer suggestions for improvement and also point out the positives in the situation.  Judgement is something that causes me (and I’m sure others) to become defensive and there are more productive ways to approach situations that can allow for more growth.

The third way the author describes how to build trust is to honor shared decision making.  Coaches should trust the teacher to make decisions based on their teaching and should allow them the freedom to make the final say on their next direction.  The coach can help them come up with solutions, but by allowing them to take control of their decisions they can take ownership of it which helps to build trust in themselves as well strengthen that trust with the coach.

Additionally, this quick 1-minute video on building trust with teachers was useful for me. I especially like the idea of having a process of coaching. Giving teachers an idea of what to expect before they go into a meeting with a coach will help them to be less nervous about the situation.

Next Steps

There are many ways to build trust, but I think I have found a few things to focus on for the time being as I have learned that taking baby steps is one of the best ways to create growth and habit changes.  This week I will meet with my coaching partner for the first time.  My goal is create norms for collaboration and actively work on ways to build trust from the beginning of our peer coaching relationship.  I am excited to see how this will work and I am sure with practice improvement will follow.


A Coach’s Toolkit: Three Ways To Build Trust With Teachers. (2015). Retrieved October 24, 2016, from

[Youtube Video]. (2016). In How Do I Build Trust as I Coach Teachers? | One Minute with Jill. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from

(2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration.


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