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Time and Trust

Author: Andrea Stringer, Professional Learning Coach

05 Apr 2016

Place your confidence and faith is someone and you expect honesty, integrity, loyalty, and respect in return. This is trust. Keeping promises and confidences is also vital.

A wise educator told me that if you lose a teacher’s trust, it is nearly impossible to regain it. Without trust, a coach has very little influence over the professional growth of a teacher, and ultimately, student achievement. When a coach works with a teacher, it is because they care about the teacher, their practice and their students. As a coach, my intention is to support and guide teachers to develop or sustain their expert skills in teaching. For a teacher, it takes courage to share their thoughts and beliefs about education, let alone invite me into their classroom to observe student learning. Being willing to receive feedback about their professional performance, confirms their desire to improve. This demonstration of vulnerability illustrates their trust in me.


This opt-in approach to professional learning, provides the opportunity to receive coaching and offers teachers to self-determine their learning. Coaches understand that teachers know their students best and work in partnership with the teachers to determine goals, decisions and also celebrate successes. Coaches question to clarify the goals of the teacher while providing additional support if needed. In my experience, learning from someone you trust lowers any apprehension of trying something new. When entering into a new coaching relationship, most are likely to be a little guarded, so patience is essential. When setting up the initial meeting, expectations should be established with confidentiality being addressed as it is imperative. When building trust, being reliable is also extremely important as educators value those who are dependable.

Without trust, you may have two educators that are wasting the valued time of both, by entering into a conversation that is not authentic. While some teachers may feel they don’t have time for coaching, coaches strive to build a culture where the coaching process and goals are highly valued. Coaches encourage teachers to develop new skills, knowledge and abilities to achieve their goals. Establishing trust may take time, but when you are promoting growth and building teacher capacity, it is time well spent.

We need to create environments in which all teachers embrace the idea of continuous improvement. - Dylan Wiliam

Diagram Source: Richard Barrett. 2014. Using the trust matrix to build the seven levels of trust. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cultureuniversity.com/using-the-trust-matrix-to-build-the-seven-levels-of-trust/. [Accessed 5 April 2016].