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10 Jul 2023 567
Rapport Building and Communicating Safety and Welfare Trust

Why is Trust Important in Coaching?

Trust is a central to any relationship. It is often talked about as being crucial, and mentioned when it’s missing. What is it? How can a coach develop trust with their participants? Laura Purdy takes us on a journey to better understand how we can develop trust in our coaching relationships

The three articles from the media highlight the importance of trust from a participant’s perspective, from a coach perspective and that of a team. 

It is clear that trust is a key component in developing, maintaining and progressing productive and meaningful relationships as well as achieving success in physical activity and sport.

For coaches and participants whose interests cannot be achieved independently, trust matters. 


What is trust?

Take a moment to think about what trust means to you. How do you know you trust someone? How do you know someone trusts you? What do you see, hear and feel in the relationship so that you know there is trust?

Think of three words that ‘capture’ what trust is.


Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else."

– Charles Feltman

Benefits of building trust between coach and participants (and coaching teams). Trust...

  • helps to keep a community (such as a group, team, programme) unified.
  • can create bonds between people and inspire coaches and participants to increase their effort and achievement as individuals and as a collective.
  • reduces uncertainty and gives confidence that expectations of others will be met. 
  • increases engagement. That is, a participant who trusts that their coach has their best interests at heart will be more likely to fully engage in the activity, session and coaching programme. 
  • acts an enabler for learning and development. 
  • ignites effective co-operation and communication in a coach-participant relationship and the wider group or team including interdisciplinary teams. In doing so, conditions are created that will assist in resolving conflicts that emerge. 
  • makes people more willing to ask for help; they don’t feel threatened to be seen as dependent or that others think they are inadequate.
  • furthers a feeling of closeness and safety which promotes positivity.

Related Resources

  • The Five Conditions of Trust

  • Building Successful Coach-Athlete Relationships

  • Effective Strategies for Managing Challenging Behaviour


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