Coaching Upgrade: 6 Essentials to Foster Trust with Clients

Coaching comes down to trust. You can’t coach people who don’t trust you. It’s that simple.

So the question is: How do you earn trust? The answer: Integrity. Demonstrate to your clients that they can count on you. Here’s how.


Show up on time. Better yet, be early, waiting for them when they arrive. People who are punctual communicate professionalism and reliability. When you show up even a minute late, it can look like you don’t have your act together, or worse, have better things to do than meet with your client.

Presence and Positivity

We’re living in an attention economy. Nothing communicates value more than our undivided attention. When even part of our mind is somewhere else, it shows. Then you’ve created mind games for your client: “Why are they distracted? What are they thinking about?”

Stay present. If you do need to look down and take a note, let your client know. Say: “I’m taking a few notes on what you’re saying. If you see me looking down, that’s what I’m doing.”

Non-Judgmental Support

Good coaching gets at the heart. Strategies and performance matter. But the places all of us usually need help lie closer to home: our thoughts, feelings, needs, and motivations. Everyone needs a place where they can be completely honest and receive care and help. And that’s part of coaching.

One of the most important parts of your job is creating a safe space. When clients reveal something they feel shame about, normalize their behavior to help them know they’re not alone. When they cry—and I have both male and female clients regularly cry in my sessions—offer support, empathy, and kindness. When your clients feel safe with you, they’ll be able to grow with you.

Complete Confidentiality

Think of yourself as a priest or a marriage counselor. Every conversation is 100% confidential. You might be tempted to share details later with someone. Don’t. Stay quiet.

If it ever gets out that you shared something from a coaching session and it gets back to the client, that pretty much destroys the relationship. It’s almost impossible to recover from that kind of lost trust. Your clients need to be able to share their deepest fears, greatest longings, and the failures they just can’t shake. Creating that safety requires you to keep confidentiality.

Consistent Follow-Through

As a coach, you frequently hold your clients accountable for following through on their commitments. But this dynamic only works if you also follow through on the commitments you make to them.

If you say you’ll connect them with the host of a podcast they want to be on, make the introduction. If you promise to send them a passage from a book they might find helpful, do it within 24 hours. Don’t drop the ball. Model what it looks like to keep commitments on a regular basis. Do what you say you’re going to do.

If you can’t follow through, let them know in advance. Own it upfront. Apologize and make it right however you can.

Prompt Session Notes

If you’re not sending clients session notes, you need to start. I include the video itself and transcript of the call, along with notes following a specific summary format. It’s essential that the commitments are extremely clear so your clients know what they’re accountable to follow through on. Sending session notes is intentional. And it makes you more credible.


That’s it. Those are my six practices for building trust with clients. When your clients truly trust you, they’ll be able to experience more growth. And when they grow, so will your business.

If you want more insights on how to grow your coaching business, access my free webinar, Land More Coaching Clients, Transform Lives, and Stand Out in a Crowded Market: 5 Impactful Lessons from a 7-Figure Coach. You’ll find it at


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