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Trust is the foundation of any relationship. It allows you to feel safe and be open to people. But it takes a huge amount of effort to build trust, and probably four times the efforts to reestablish trust. So, what are the steps you are taking to rebuild, restore, or repair a relationship and come back stronger?

But first, what is trust? Is it a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something? Or it is something else. People all around the globe have tried defining trust and have given many definitions. But Charles has a unique take, he defines trust as making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions. This time on The xMonks Drive, Charles Feltman, a transformational coach and an expert on trust, joins us to help us rebuild trust in a relationship. Here is a transcripted version of the conversation.

Rebuilding Trust

Gaurav: I’ve personally come across teams, I’ve personally come across couples, where somehow they’re not able to have conversations well. Many times, people are unable to either cross the bridge or they’re not comfortable looking eye to eye and having conversations. What could be a possible way to rebuild trust?

Charles: It’s a really important question for all of us because we’ve all damaged trust with each other at times, in situations consciously or unconsciously, knowingly, or unknowingly. Mostly unconsciously, especially in the workplace, probably 90 to 95% of things happen that somebody then says, “Oh, I don’t trust that person.” That person was not being consciously untrustworthy. They don’t understand the implications until maybe later of what they were doing. 

Fortunately, I had good feedback. If I hadn’t had the good feedback, I would have kept on doing that thinking I was working for people. Yes. So, we do that, and we damage trust with each other. 

7 Steps To Rebuild Trust

“Trust is making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.”

Gaurav: What are the steps that we can take to rebuild trust? 

Charles: The seven steps we can take to rebuild trust are as follows:

Do I want to do that?: Before the conversation, the first step is to decide if you’re willing to talk to the other person about it. So, the first step is to identify if I am even willing to do this? Is there enough value here in this relationship? Because trust is something that’s in our relationship with each other. So, either our relationship has trust, or it has distrust. And if it has distrust in it, how can I shift that? Bring it back to a place of trust? So, the first thing you have to decide is, do I want to do that?

The specific actions: Then I find it really useful to identify which of the assessment domains is my distrust showing up? For me, what are my assessments about this other person, so that I can begin to think about what the behaviours are?

Define Standards: The third one is to define standards for trustworthiness. In terms of reliability, which is one of the four assessment domains. 

Understanding the Standard: Understanding what my standard is, identifying the specific actions or behaviours that have led to the assessment of distrust. If I’m thinking about the domain of care, what are the things that you do that are telling me you really don’t care about me? Or our team? Or what we’re doing together? What are those things, the behaviours, so that I can talk about that, rather than you as a person. Talking about you as a person as untrustworthy, versus talking about the things that you’re doing creates an assessment of distrust in me.

Acceptance: Then the fifth step is to ask yourself, “What am I doing that may be contributing to the situation?” This is a really important step because it’s so easy to point the finger, but there is some undoing that needs to be looked at. And if you are going to have an honest conversation with somebody about your distrust in them, then you should first take a look at yourself for acceptance.

Identify Need: The sixth one is to determine what I need from the other person in order to be able to rebuild trust and be able to put that in the form of a request to them.

Hitting the Conversation: Then the seventh step is really to begin by asking the other person if they’re willing to have a conversation.

Do I Trust You?

“You can only trust the other person when you’re willing to trust yourself.”

Gaurav: How would you create a distinction that one is willing or not able to trust you because of any specific action that you have done or not done? Or because of the inability to trust oneself? How do you ensure that it’s not your own projection onto the other? 

Charles: I think we don’t need to go there necessarily, in order to have effective conversations with other people. That’s really for a deeper learning in oneself. So, on one hand, you don’t leave people with the idea that they really have to do a lot of deep personal work in order to have a conversation with somebody about trust, about building it or rebuilding it. Let’s just take an example of reliability which is keeping specific commitments. So, let’s say I need to talk to somebody about the fact that I don’t trust them anymore, because they’ve so often not actually kept commitments that they’ve made to me. And this has been going on now for, let’s say, months and months. So, how might I be contributing to that, or have contributed to that? Well, right off the bat, I have to look and say, “Oh, my God, I’ve been letting this person get away with that, for months and months, I have not held that other person accountable for all this time.”

So, that’s certainly something that we have to own up to, back that, around a second, or maybe the third time that they missed, or didn’t fulfil that commitment that they had made. It would have been much more useful at that point for me to say something, but I didn’t, I’ve been letting it go on and on and on.” So what is it? I mean, then I can really take a deeper look. And what is it in me that prevented me from that, held me back from saying that way back, then? But in terms of the conversation that I need to have, I at the very least need to own up to that. I haven’t been holding that person accountable for all this time. 

About the Speaker

Charles Feltman has more than 25 years of experience coaching, facilitating, consulting, and educating people in positions of leadership. His clients’ success and wellbeing at work and in other aspects of their lives is an overarching goal in all of his work. He spent a decade in senior roles in the technology industry before launching his coaching and consulting business. Today, Charles focuses his efforts on two key areas: individual leadership coaching and leadership teams, as well as leadership development programmes.

Charles works with executives and managers who want to improve or build critical leadership skills that lead to extraordinary business success. He also works with executives and project teams who want to regularly deliver outstanding results. Based on three decades of experience working with individuals and teams to establish, maintain, and repair trust, Charles is the author of The Thin Book® of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work. Charles served as a mentor coach for Newfield Network’s programs after finishing his coach training in 2000.

Charles graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in organizational development and communication from the University of Southern California. He is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation (PCC). The Leadership Circle Profile, MBTI, DiSC Work of Leaders, and the Triscendance Trust Assessment for Leadership Teams are among his certifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is trust?

People from all around the world have attempted to define trust and have come up with a variety of meanings. But Charles offers a different perspective: he defines trust as putting something you value susceptible to the acts of another person.

What are the steps to rebuild trust?

The steps to rebuild trust are as follows:

  • Do I want to do that?
  • The specific actions
  • Define Standards
  • Understanding the Standard
  • Acceptance
  • Identify Need
  • Hitting the Conversation

Why building trust is Important?

It’s a critical question for all of us since we’ve all broken trust with one another, whether consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unknowingly, in a variety of settings. Probably 90 to 95 percent of the time, especially in the office, things happen that lead to someone saying, “Oh, I don’t trust that individual.” They don’t realise the implications of what they’re doing until later.

How would you create a distinction that one is willing or not able to trust you?

We don’t have to go there to have productive talks with other people. That’s truly for a more in-depth understanding of oneself. So, on the one side, people aren’t left with the impression that they need to do a lot of deep personal work in order to have a conversation with someone about trust, whether it’s developing or rebuilding it.

Who is Charles Feltman?

Charles Feltman has over 25 years of experience coaching, facilitating, consulting, and training people in leadership positions. In all of his work, he strives to ensure his clients’ success and happiness at work and in other areas of their lives. Before starting his coaching and consulting business, he spent a decade in senior positions in the technology industry.