ICF Core Competency: Co-creating the Relationship – Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client

The second category of ICF core competencies is Co-Creating the Relationship and the first point under it is Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client.

3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client—Ability to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust.

  1. Shows genuine concern for the client’s welfare and future.
  2. Continuously demonstrates personal integrity, honesty and sincerity.
  3. Establishes clear agreements and keeps promises.
  4. Demonstrates respect for client’s perceptions, learning style, personal being.
  5. Provides ongoing support for and champions new behaviors and actions, including those involving risk taking and fear of failure.
  6. Asks permission to coach client in sensitive, new areas.

Retrieved from ICF Core Coaching Competencies.

Establishing trust and intimacy is always a challenge, especially during the initial coaching sessions. How do you show a genuine concern for your client?  You can begin with being fully present, that is, giving 100% of your attention to the person in front of you and listening openly and actively to what she is saying and what she may not be saying.

You must also show respect to the uniqueness of the person and not make any judgments about who she is, her challenges or issues, expressed perceptions and thoughts, her behavior and so on. Accepting the person for who she is helps create trust.

You must strive to communicate clearly and make sure agreements are clear. Do what you say you will do and say what you do. In case something appears not to be clear, make an effort to re-clarify. Support your client in her efforts to try out new behaviors and ways of doing things.

When you feel you must give honest feedback that may hurt, weigh how ready she is to receive this and work with it constructively. It helps to ask permission to coach in sensitive areas.

Click here to see the 11 ICF Core Coaching Competencies in this blog.

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