The “Square of Trust” coaching tool

A typical application of this tool in in the Situation stage when attempting to map the category that the client thinks he or she belongs to since this furnishes information to the coach relating to subsequent steps.

Square of trust

Case study (excerpt)

My client worked as a Head of Department with a renowned financial institution. Although he was young, dynamic and brimming with ideas, a sizable number of the latter failed to reach the implementation phase due to lack of time. As a homework, he kept a diary for one week, taking notes on his actions every 15 minutes. We analysed his notes, and he informed me that he was monitoring himself when logging his actions and realized that of all his activities, his Achilles’ heel was e-mailing. He wished for a fairy to eliminate this electronic medium. While he was accustomed to work when he only received letters and phone calls, he is not able to do that anymore. I asked him how his wish would sound if there was a fairy but that she could not eliminate e-mailing completely because there are many who are fond of it. How could the fairy compensate him?
Client: OK, Dear Fairy, if you cannot eliminate e-mail entirely, then please cast a spell over the e-mailing software in my computer and incorporate it into your laptop, read all the mails and answer as many as possible and come into my office at 11:00 every day and offer me a synopsis.
Coach: You know, that it’s not impossible…
Client: Oh yes, it is.
Coach: Such a fairy is called a secretary…
Client: I will never have one.
At first, I thought he deemed it unrealistic because he “only” led a department with sixty employees. I considered citing examples from other companies where even a team of ten people had a secretary, but it turned out that he had trust issues.
In connection with the Square of Trust name, we were debating into which cell to classify the people around him. He had no wife and no children; the only person in the “Trust still” section was his mother. Most people were rated as “Suspicious still”. Upon discovering the latter, did not return to the beginning of the Situation stage but proceed to the Route phase as he succeed in suggesting two alternatives:
He would either employ his mother, who was living on a disability, as a secretary (because he trusts her completely), or attempt to work with the other department head’s secretary by sharing her time 50-50%. If she improves her aptitude during the probationary period, he would entrust her with managing his e-mails.
Author: Laura Komócsin PCC; Coach editor: Zita Delevich, PhD