3 Keys to Building and Maintaining Confidence and Confidentiality


“Confidence” is the feeling or belief that you can rely on someone to do what they say they will do, including keeping personal information confidential.  In supervisor and coaching relationships there must be mutual confidence between the parties for mutual trust to be developed.  Here are three keys to developing confidence in a relationship. 

1. Set confidentiality ground rules.

This may seem unnecessary, but just setting a ground rule that all information about each other is to be held in confidence unless there is agreement to the contrary can help create an environment of trust. This will create an atmosphere where the parties are willing to be vulnerable with each other, making it easier to be helpful to the other person.

2. Be honest about expectations and abilities.

In supervisor or coaching relationships it is critical that each party understand the capabilities and expectations of the other. This requires that honest evaluation of what is expected from the other person and what the other person feels competent to deliver is made clear. Supervisors must have confidence that the employee understands and is able to deliver. The employee must have confidence that the supervisor is providing complete information about expectations and the resources necessary for success. Failure in either of these areas can lead to lack of confidence.

3. Keep promises.

This is simple; do what you say you will do. People need to be able to rely on others if trust is going to be maintained. When you can’t do what you say you will do, then make sure that you make the other person aware at the earliest possible time so that surprises are eliminated. The ability to rely on the other person to do what they say they will do and to protect that which is told in confidence is critical to the development of mutual trust in a relationship.