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How to instantly create trust with a brand-new client. (Coaching Skills, Part 2)

March 7th, 2017 | no comments

Guess what my husband Brent’s favorite topic of conversation is two months into our journey through California, today as we drive along the coast? Cows.


“Cows must have a pretty boring life, look at them” or “Look at that view, that’s what the cows get to look at all day”.

I can’t tell if he wants to live the cows’ life, or not. We’ll keep exploring and I’ll let you know.


Building rapport and engaging in conversation is not easy. Even with your partner of ten years. Now try getting someone to talk about their most intimate challenges in a life coaching session, the first time you meet.

It’s Week 2 of my 3-part series all about coaching skills! I’m sharing some on-the-ground skills and techniques I use every single day as a life coach. They’re so practical, you’ll be able to use them right away as you build your own life coaching practice.

Last week was all about ethics and integrity (I even gave you scripts to handle some sticky situations in coaching sessions – go check it out!).

My intention throughout this series is to support you in increasing your service skills as a coach so your clients rave about their sessions with you. You’ll learn exactly where to focus to become an intentional and empowered coach.

Today you’ll learn how to create trust, respect, and intimacy with your clients. As a successful coach, you’ll need to learn how to do this instantly especially in consultation sessions when you might not know your potential clients at all!

Sound impossible? It’s not! There are proven ways to instantly create trust, and I’m revealing them today.

What is trust?

When someone trusts you, they feel safe with you and believe you have their best interests in mind. At its core, trust is believing a person will create pleasure and benefits for you, and that they won’t create pain, loss, and problems for you.

Without this sense of trust, clients aren’t going to share their most important and private information — the deeper stuff that really enables you to help them. They won’t allow you to  shift their emotion, mindset, or their psychology.

Trust is one of the master keys to help you change your client’s life in a meaningful way. But how can you create it, especially with people you’ve never even spoken to before?

How to create trust.

Let’s look at how people create trust, even in the worst possible circumstances.

Imagine you have a sworn enemy on the other side of the battleground — how would you create trust with her? If you can find common interests between you and your enemy, then at least for that particular situation you’re going to have trust. We’ve all seen it on the world political stage: two countries who are normally sworn enemies decide to team up to take on a bigger problem facing both of them. For a time, they’ll work together and trust one another.

In your coaching practice, you’ll need to show and prove that you’re truly interested in your client’s success, and soon enough she’ll trust you.

Search for other areas you have in common, too; this can be as simple as where you grew up, a pastime you both enjoy, or something much deeper like shared religious beliefs, values, and philosophies on life.

The truth about building rapport.

Most people think that positive rapport happens when you simply like someone else, or when you’re getting along well. But that’s actually not rapport!

The broadest sense of rapport is present anytime you’re able to produce a response in someone else. The greater the ability to produce a response or the deeper and more varied number of responses you can create in the other person, the better rapport you have.

Positive rapport happens when you’re in an agreement with your clients. They’re saying yes to everything you suggest, or at least they seem agreeable and positive about what you’re communicating.

You can also have negative rapport, where your client is angry at you or they’re in strong disagreement with everything you’re saying. It’s still rapport though, because they’re responding to you.

Don’t be afraid to create negative rapport if you need to (seriously!).

Negative rapport is actually much better than apathy!

For instance, if a client just isn’t present in a session, you might want to challenge her about something and get her to disagree, or have some kind of emotional reaction. If you want to help your client in the deepest way possible then you need to create the deepest rapport possible with her, even if its negative.

The depth of the changes you can help your client make during a session will correspond to the depth of rapport you have with her.

Wondering how to make it happen? Here are some simple guidelines for creating rapport. Your clients won’t even know you’re using these techniques – they’ll just feel a connection with you!

Matching and mirroring.

Also called pacing, it’s a simple way to create an unconscious rapport just by matching and mirroring the unconscious and conscious aspects of what your client is doing as she speaks. There are two types:

Content pacing.

This means you’re agreeing with or speaking in a positive or appreciative way about your client’s ideas, beliefs, values, and thoughts. During your sessions, you can step inside the way the world looks to your client and use that as a way to connect with your client.

Non-verbal pacing.

This is all about what’s communicated in the body language, the breathing, the volume and other aspects of your client’s voice when she’s communicating. When you’re pacing a client non-verbally, you’re simply matching these aspects of your client’s communication. Focus on affirming and mirroring back things she’s said, the way she’s said them. For instance, if your client uses a word often, make sure you use that same word in the same tone of voice and volume. Match as many elements as you can!

Here’s an example. Let’s say you typically speak really quickly, but your client comes to see you and she’s a very slow speaker – she pauses a lot between words. Do your best to mirror and match her, because then she’s going to feel more comfortable (even if she doesn’t realize exactly why she’s feeling so comfortable.) On the other hand, if you’re staying in your own really fast-paced way of talking, she might feel like you guys just don’t get along.

Practicing with a partner is a great way to perfect all of this – copy each other like actors until this really becomes natural.

Find things you admire and respect about your client – then tell her!

You’ll build trust, rapport and intimacy with your client when you find things about her that you sincerely admire and respect, and point them out to her during your session. She’ll instantly feel understood, like you “get” her. Who doesn’t love that!?

Wanna learn more?

There’s an amazing book called Winning Through Intimidation by Robert Ringer, all about how you can take initiative and be much more in control of every area of your life. It absolutely extends to the conversations you’ll want to be intentional about in your coaching practice.

Creating trust, rapport and intimacy with a complete stranger might seem like an advanced technique only the most experienced coaches can master. But sister, that’s not true! Your heart is in it, you want to make a difference in your life coaching practice, and now you have these tools and techniques to create the best possible environment to help your clients make big changes in their lives.

You’re already on your way to mastery – believe it! Go out there and use these new skills as soon as you can, and practice every chance you get.
Next week, we’ll be finishing up this series when I reveal everything you’ll need to know about planning, tracking, and organizing your coaching practice.

See you then, love!


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