The 10 Things All Trustworthy, Trust-Generating Pros Do

You can’t be everything to everyone,
but you can be something great for someone.

Arielle Jackson



Although I only play miniature golf I have had the privilege to speak at the Titleist Performance World Golf Summit. I spoke on how coaches, trainers and teachers can create trust between themselves and their clients.


I explained that no matter what your field trust springs up when your client believes that you “see” and understand them.


In my talk I highlighted the basic communication skills that go into creating trust: listening, managing emotions, understanding your biases and using well-chosen words.


Since that talk, I’ve recognized a marked difference between those who are able to create a trusting relationship and those who seem robotic. Yes, clearly there’s a difference in communication skills BUT there’s also that “something else.”


I’m now convinced that the “something else” hovers around whether the coach, teacher, healer (substitute “manager” or “leader”) trusts their own individual self – trusts not just their professional skill set, but trusts their own person and their ability to enter into a relationship with others.


In order to establish trust with your client you need to trust your own self.


What does it mean to trust your own self?


While it’s about being “confident”, it’s about more than confidence. When you trust

yourself certain observable things happen – or at least, you’re willing to let happen.


Trusting yourself means that you –


  1. Believe what you’re doing is worthwhile and you’re committed to the job. Golf legend Scott Foley said it best: “I’m here to touch the individual lives of the people that I work with. I was raised on the idea that when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night the goal is to leave the world in a better place than you found it.”


  1. Readily and willingly make yourself vulnerable and are not easily embarrassed.


  1. Experience empathy for what your client is feeling, thinking.


  1. Respect failure and mistakes and so are patient because you know the process demands it.


  1. Convey knowledge and competency with a non-arrogant alertness so that a potential problem is addressed with, “here’s how we’ll handle it.”


  1. Telegraph joy in what you’re doing through a palpable sense of liveliness, exchange and laughter.


  1. Focus on the client and are not self-absorbed because the on-going dynamic of the relationship is paramount.


  1. Understand the inherent power of story – realizing that a command of facts alone doesn’t generate trust.


  1. Go about your business rooted in the belief that the ultimate goal is to hear a client say, “I hadn’t thought of that before.” It’s all about discovery.


  1. Are grateful – for the skill, the client, the opportunity. Everything rests on this. Seriously, have you ever met an ingrate you trusted?  How can there be trust without gratitude?


I think these ten traits flow from being able to answer the most basic and simple of questions: “Who do I want to be?”


Answer that question and you will inevitably come to trust yourself – and so create a trusting relationship with your clients.


A recent client of mine told me that he wants to be known for five characteristics: Intriguing / interesting / powerful / knowledgeable / humble.


He believes that he is these words and also that he can become “more” of these words.


I’ve been working with him only a short while but I can see how those words mark him and why his business practice is getting noticed.


The truest of truths is that people will most trust you when you trust yourself. 


Why?  Because the more you trust yourself, the more you’ll –

  • trust your client
  • trust the process of the relationship
  • help the client trust him / her self


Trust is a circular experience.


A client or colleague trusts you when they believe you “see” them.

You can only see them when you see and trust yourself.

The more you trust yourself, the more you can help your client trust his or her own self. 

Help a client trust their own self and they will come to believe that they can “do it” – whatever skill that “it” might be.


Ultimately, the circle of trust begins with you.

There’s no magic to any of this, though when trust happens, it can be magical.


and THAT is the business of confidence. . .



Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:


Confident People are Curious People!


My whole life changed when I decided not just what I’d like to do,

but when I decided who I was committed to being and having in my life.

Tony Robbins


Last December, Holly (names changed) took a Zoom workshop from me on “dealing with difficult people”.  At the end of the day she confided that the big take-away was that she is a difficult person – not her clients.


With remarkable candor she confessed that she doesn’t like people. What made Holly’s revelation surprising is that she’s a psychotherapist in private practice.


She explained that she’s fine for the fifty-minutes insurance pays for, but it’s the few minutes prior and after the session that she dislikes.  She asked if there was any way to teach her to “like” people.


Given that she’s a therapist, this was one of the oddest questions ever asked of me!  However, because of my own family story, it was easy for me to empathize with Holly as she tried to make sense of her impatience with and dislike of people.


Both my grandfathers were dead by the time I was born. My paternal grandmother, who was the great love of my childhood, was a prison guard for thirty-five years.


My maternal grandmother was such a miserable creature that not even her own cat would sit on her lap! Neither grandmother had any friends.


My parents were fun, funny people who had no friends because people were not to be trusted.


My brother and I weren’t even allowed to go trick-or-treating as my parents viewed it as a form of “begging.”


Although my parents and grandmothers didn’t have any friends, they all loved to sit on park benches or by a window and just watch people. They enjoyed imagining what kind of lives people lived (most were deemed unhappy).


As a child I learned about people from a distance and from that distance I longed for the chance to like people.


Because I spent most of my childhood on a park bench, I could have grown up to become a hermit or a people-loathing therapist!


Instead, I traveled the world, embraced adventure, entered ministry, and became a teacher, coach and speaker.


I’m fascinated with people and, yet, in my communication coaching I’ve encountered scores of individuals like Holly who claim not to be interested in people.


I wasn’t able to give Holly a tip-sheet on “6 Easy Steps to Liking People.”


While I could tell her why she should like people

success in life = the people you meet + what you create together

thank you Keith Ferrazzi


I couldn’t tell her how to like them.


In our coaching sessions I worked to help Holly develop a curiosity for people since curiosity is at the heart of liking.


I gave her a list of questions that I hoped would serve as a “whack on the head” to help her clarify her feelings of dislike.  Here are my:


Top Ten Questions to Generate Curiosity for People.


  1. Why don’t you like people? And since your first answer is just the superficial reason, what is the real reason?  Which is another way of asking, what are you afraid of?
  2. What is the best conversation you ever had with a stranger?
  3. What makes a person boring for you?
  4. What makes you boring to people?
  5. Do you want people to like you?
  6. Do you have anything to give to people that would benefit them?
  7. In what ways is your life richer for “excluding” people? (yes, trick question)
  8. Who was the kindest person to you?
  9. Who was the nastiest?
  10. Who knew you the best – the kindest or the nastiest?


As a therapist, Holly was intrigued with my questions and as “Holly” she was resistant to them.


Through our coaching sessions, Holly realized that she didn’t like people because she thought they wouldn’t like her – the non-professional “Holly.”


In one telling, throwaway line, Holly mentioned that her mother used to tell her that she was “an uninteresting girl.”


Holly’s fear is that outside a professional setting, people won’t find her interesting and because of that belief Holly pushes people away before they can push her away.


As Holly made her way through the questions, it became clear to both of us that she had an old-fashioned superiority complex and that’s why she erupted into condescending fits with people.

Fear made her a harsh judge and judging gave her safety. But, it was a “safe” place that prevented her from being truly interested in people because if you believe you’re better than most everyone else why would you be interested in them?


Sadly, in the end, Holly admitted she was content not liking people.


While this was a stunning admission for a therapist to make, as with many people, fear won out. Although she was paid to hear people’s stories she was afraid to see her story in theirs and so see her worth.


Here’s the thing – although I wasn’t able to tell Holly how she could like people, I can tell you that if you want to become more fully “you” then you have to want to know more about people. 


You have to stand with your shoes off in the presence of the whack-a-do mystery of other people. 


You have to risk finding shards of your story in their story.


You have to become curious. 


It’s the only way you can ever really hope to “like” people.

and THAT is the business of confidence. . .

How Are You Emerging From The Pandemic?


He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction
that human beings are not born once and for all
on the day their mothers give birth to them,
but that life obliges them over and over again
to give birth to themselves.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Since last I wrote. . .

You’ve zoomed your eyes out, experimented with styles of masks, all of which fogged-up your glasses, indulged in all sorts of exotic and comforting Trader Joe’s and Costco’s delicacies, managed (put up with?) the virtual peculiarities of colleagues and clients, spent waaaaay too much time getting to know the Tiger King, the Mandalorian and the Queen’s Gambit, and took up an array of new physical exercises you may or may not stick with now that we’re venturing out with more resolve.

It hasn’t been easy. But here we are. A new Spring and you survived, and I hope those near and dear to you have as well.

I was sidetracked for a while with some health issues and although I had to pull back on some projects, I continued to teach and coach. Hey, I’m from NYC and the show must always go on!

I’ll admit, in looking back on the past 14 months I marvel at what a number of my clients and students have accomplished.

My godson Finn finished his AA degree and decided to head off to Texas to join his family in a new venture. Jeff, who’s cut my hair for over twenty years, bought a house in the desert and is looking to turn it over into an Air BnB in retirement. Stacy stopped saying she wasn’t “enough” and applied for a job at a company she’s keen on working at. Melissa is packing up her family and heading to Canada for the luxury of a writing fellowship. And Raz? Well, he read War and Peace! Yes, I was gobsmacked when he casually mentioned this to me.

And my students at UCLA Extension continued to engage in workshops and classes that asked them to experiment with thinking and doing things differently.

And for some, like me, there’s the wistful sense of, “I should have done more.”

No matter, for as we’ve all learned (the hard way) there’s only TODAY. And so, at the beginning of this new Spring, we continue to grapple with the question, “What am I going to do now?”


There’s just the now.

As the writer Kazuo Ishiguro said,

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”

For the folks I just mentioned, each reached a moment where they said: Enough!

They said: No more to the cycle of fear and lies.
They wanted more than what they’ve been doing or what they’ve had.
Tired of the B.S. that would have persisted even without Covid, they took action.

They did something new or at least tried something new or invited into their life someone new.

In and of itself the “new” didn’t change their lives.

It was the sheer act of embracing something or someone new that has set them on a course of change.

They –

Read a book
Applied with new strategy for a job
Sought to reward themselves with the luxury of a fellowship
Tip-toed into a new relationship
Settled in a culturally different city
Challenged themselves to learn a skill set that they previously thought, “someday”
Tried on a different attitude

What does it mean to be confident?
to be confident means
To embrace the new in times of normalcy and in times of upheaval

How do you do this?
How do you “do” the new?

There are 3 steps. . .

Know your demons.

Yes, it sounds dramatic! What I mean is you have to understand your fears and why they are fears.

Fear is grounded in story. What Audible story do you lull and paralyze yourself with?

Does the thought of the new drain you? What Lie are you telling yourself?
Does the thought of the new make you afraid? What Lie are you telling yourself?
Does the thought of the new make you emotionally shut down? What Lie are you telling yourself?

Renowned psychologist William Perry shrewdly observed –

Whenever someone comes to me for help, I listen very hard and ask myself, “What does this person really want— and what will they do to keep from getting it?

The first step is to ask yourself – What do YOU really want and what are you doing to keep yourself from getting it?



Devise a Plan, a Strategy.

Not a permanent plan. Not a perfect strategy.

Just something you can begin doing and then you can make adjustments as you go along.

Get help

Take a Class. Enroll in an online workshop. Find a Mentor at work. Seek out a Coach. Locate an accountability buddy.

Each of the folks I mentioned, along with others like them, followed these three steps.

I’m not going to say any of it is “easy” because it’s not. It is though straightforward.


Prentis Hemphill, who in his podcast, “Finding Our Way,” helps explore healing and social justice, believes that –

Each of us has a brilliant piece of the puzzle to share.

I love that.

I admit, over the last six months I became distracted and lost sight of this truth.
But it is never too late to remember truth.

Whatever the “new normal” may look or feel like, let it have a renewed brilliance
because it has a renewed YOU. . .

THAT is the business of confidence. . .