I was bathing in deep gratitude, after so many friends, mentors, and fellow coaches followed my invitation to come together and support me on my journey as a professional coach. We gathered in a safe space, based on mutual trust and respect. It was heart-warming and uplifting to witness the dynamics that emerged through deep listening, connection, and creativity. I called this gathering – a Circle of Trust. This was a stage to show vulnerability by expressing my passion for coaching and the challenges that I face at this point. All the sharing and dialogue lead to concrete feedback that will support me on my future path as a professional coach and beyond. Let me introduce you to some of the lessons learned from my very first Circle of Trust.
What makes a circle of trust work?
First and foremost, set clear rules and boundaries. Rules provide a frame and context on which everyone can hold on. Coming into a room with people we do not know, and a rather open and uncertain agenda, can feel threatening at first. These rules should support the underlying message of the circle of trust – creating a safe, respectful environment that is based on careful listening, and constructive feedback.
Second, formulate a guiding theme that matters for everyone who joins the circle of trust. I suggest sending all participants a reflective question and/or a clear topic before the actual gathering. Building a common ground at the beginning helps to lighten up the atmosphere. Let’s take the example of fear. Every one of us has experienced fear. It is part of human nature, and it is okay to feel that way. Talking openly about our deepest fears is still not fully accepted and appreciated. A space that invites everyone to express themselves, builds the foundation for honest and open conversation. The first step towards healing!
Last, creating a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is the foundation to feel safe and accepted in a space with people that might seem like a stranger on the first sight. Open the floor with a short Ice-breaker, for instance with a question: What brought you here? Sharing this with your neighbour adds an outside perspective, and allows to get to know the others in the room.
The Quality of a Circle of Trust
Where to start? Once a circle of trust takes place, the possibilities of open and trustful communication are endless. Coming from the intention to support and empower each other, awakens confidence to speak up. Suddenly, we feel heard, understood, and feel at ease. In this state, we can share openly, ask for help, and provide sound advice to each other. Self-expression feels lighter and more natural because the others only want the best for us. We experience a non-judgemental environment in which everything is okay, accepted. We are complete the way we are. Nothing to be fixed, just to flourish, to grow and to learn from each other.
For everyone who feels the urge to gather a group of people to create a space of trust, try it out. Not knowing how to start? Check out this powerful guide: http://www.couragerenewal.org/approach/
For those who look for individual support. I support you in taking responsibility for your life circumstances by offering 1-on-1 coaching sessions. Interested? Get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Namasté & rock’n roll