7 Questions Leaders Can Ask to Build Trust

Coaching should be a common leadership behavior, integrated in all leadership communications. Although coaching sessions should be planned out in advance, informal coaching happens any time, any place. Often it consists of on-the-spot feedback, either positive, neutral or negative. Even neutral comments show people you care and you notice them.

As I mentioned earlier this week, you can’t have coaching conversations that leave an impact unless trust has been established on the leader’s part. I’d like to explore this fundamental step further because it can’t be overemphasized.

It is how a leader reinforces their message, walks their talk, shows people they care and it’s crucial to being an effective leader. It’s not rocket surgery, as a buddy of mine is prone to say, mixing his metaphors.

Creating solid relationships begins with asking questions, listening, and finding out about what someone cares about and wants for themselves. Here are 7 questions to ask that will build a solid foundation with a direct report.

  1. What’s the best thing you like about your job?
  2. What’s your least favorite thing?
  3. Where would you like to be in six months?
  4. Is there anything or anyone standing in the way of achieving your goals?
  5. What would you want to be doing in 5 years? At the mid-point of your career? At the end of it?
  6. What kinds of incentives really motivate you?
  7. How can I help you achieve your goals?

These questions aren’t the only ones that build trust, but they are important to know about a person working for you. Getting people on board with the objectives of the organizations requires they align their goals with yours. You can’t help them  do that if you don’t know them and what their personal goals are.

Coaching and leadership go hand in hand. Trust is created through inquiry, appreciation, discipline, reward and mentorship. It begins with getting to know someone and what they really care about.

In my work with Scholz and Associates, we help executives in leadership positions uncover trust deficits and improve leadership communications through coaching conversations. If we can help you, let us know.

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