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.

4 Steps for Successful Career Coaching

Career development is a personal responsibility, but really good supervisors understand that they can help by being a career coach to their employees.  Here are four keys to being an effective career coach. 1.  Help the employee identify career goals.  Career success requires both ability and motivation.  Help the employee identify strengths and interests as the starting point to defining career goals.  It is not the role of a career coach to judge the appropriateness of the employee’s career goals, but it is appropriate to help the employee explore the consequences of moving along a particular career path relative to strengths and interests.

2.  Help the employee identify developmental needs.  Once a career goal has been identified, help the person assess the requirements for success and determine the requisite knowledge, skills, experience, etc.  Help the person honestly evaluate their current level of readiness and what must be done to move forward and to achieve their career goals. 3.  Help the employee discover barriers to development and develop plans to overcome those barriers.  An honest evaluation of barriers to personal development is essential to the development of a career plan.  Many times the employee is unaware of those barriers and needs another person to ask questions that lead to discovery.  Once barriers have been identified, a realistic plan of action needs to be developed.  This is the responsibility of the individual, but, again, asking relevant questions and appropriately challenging assumptions is an important part of planning. 4.  Hold the employee accountable for implementing plans.  This does not mean punishment for failure.  Here accountability is really tied to the “giving account” part of accountability.  The career coach should be there to ask questions about plan schedule and accomplishment and provide encouragement and feedback as appropriate.

The role of a career coach is that of “helper”.  They facilitate development, not dictate it.

Building Effective Relationships Through Mentoring & Coaching

In our last blog we discussed the importance of building relationship with employees so that you can more effectively motivate them to perform.  Now let’s talk about how to build that relationship.  

Supervisors play two basic roles with employees: Mentor and Coach.  So what is the difference?

Mentoring is a relationship in which one person facilitates the development of another by sharing knowledge, perspectives and insights from past experiences.  This is accomplished by helping the person being mentored recognize areas to improve, discover barriers to improvement, provide guidance by sharing knowledge, perspectives and insights from past experience, and helping the person adapt perspectives and insights to his or her specific circumstances.

Coaching is a relationship in which one person directs the personal/professional development of another by providing instruction and ensuring that the other effectively follows that instruction.  This is done by helping the person being coached identify areas to develop, discovering barriers to development, providing instructions for development and holding the other person accountable to following those instructions.

Both of these roles are based on trust through shared purpose and mutual respect.  As trust grows, the relationship grows and as the relationship grows, influence and the ability to motivate increases.  Best bosses know when and how to build relationships by mentoring and coaching.