NLP Liverpool

Coaching Tips

The Keys To Effective Coaching.

Part 2 – Credibility and Trust.

“Credibility is a leader's currency.
With it, he or she is solvent;
without it, he or she is bankrupt.”

John C. Maxwell (American Author)

A picture of a scrabble board showing the words credibility and trust.
For effective coaching you must build credibility and trust.

What distinguishes "The Master" from his students? What makes us sit up and listen? What leads us to action, when we don’t want to?

In the second of our series of tips, we’ll examine the role of credibility and trust in effective change work.

Throughout our lives, we’ve undoubtedly had people give us information, and tell us what to do or what not to do. Sometimes we act on this, sometimes not. What makes the difference is credibility and trust.

For example, if a firefighter, wearing breathing apparatus and protective equipment tells you to move back, away from your house, you’re likely to listen to them. Alternatively, if a youth, wearing a hoodie with a scarf around his face were to give you the same instructions, you might act differently.

They may both be trying to save your life, yet one has credibility and trust, whilst the other may not.

Similarly, when we are working with clients, helping them achieve the changes they are looking for, we must establish trust and credibility early on. By doing so, it removes unconscious barriers to facilitate these changes.

Often, a few carefully chosen words will do the trick:–

“You know, I’ve done this before” – Dr Richard Bandler;

“This is not my first rodeo” – Kathleen LaValle;

“Over the years, I’ve worked with…” – Paul McKenna;

“A client once told me…” – Milton Erickson

They all create credibility elegantly and quickly, early on in the session.

Sometimes, it may be even more useful to recount our experiences, thus creating credibility, trust and allowing us to entertain the client and open up opportunities for the unconscious installation of information.

Dr Bandler will often start a Practitioner course with an anecdote about a video he did back in the early ‘80s with a client called Susan. “She told me everything I needed to do in the first 20 seconds”.

Here the audience unconsciously understands that Richard has been seeing clients since at least the early ‘80s – that’s over 40 years. So… this isn’t the first time he’s done this … he must know what he’s doing. This little anecdote also leads to one of the first elements to work on – listening to what the client actually says. (If you’d like to see this video, sign up for and look for “The Marshall University Tapes”)

In the courses I’ve been teaching for the last 17 years, I’ve done my best to help my students become effective agents of change by teaching them these simple, often-overlooked patterns.

Following up with students after the course they sometimes tell me of difficult clients, who they’ve struggled to help. I’ll remind them that they’ve had plenty of practice on their course and to use this knowledge to create credibility with their next client. The following day I usually get the message to say “It worked!”

Today, take the opportunity to establish your credibility.

Think about what experience you have that would carry weight. It may be experience gained over many years, or it could be an intense learning experience. Medical students (and our NLP students) learn a procedure by “Seeing one, doing one and teaching one”. Which, of course, means that when you come to do it again… “This isn’t my first time.”

Have fun and remember, you’ve done this before, in a myriad of ways over the years.

Next time in Part 3 we'll look at preparing the client for change.

© NLP Liverpool Limited 2023

A picture of old keys -The Keys to effective coaching
The Keys to effective coaching