Building group trust: the service-oriented facilitator

Andrea Howe
Category : Client relationships, Trusted advisorship February 12, 2008

Client meetings are a great opportunity to build trust with many clients at once. Today’s blog is the fourth (and last) in a series that focuses on how to build trust with your clients when you morph from Consultant to Facilitator (Click here to read the first article in the series, Building Group Trust: The Credible Facilitator, here for the second article, Building Group Trust: The Reliable Facilitator and here for the third article, Building Group Trust: The Connected Facilitator)

We’ve used the components of the Trust Equation as our framework. So far, we’ve covered Credibility, Reliability, and Connectedness; now we turn to Service Orientation.

trust diagram
Service Orientation exists in the domain of motives. Service-oriented facilitators make it clear that they are relentlessly focused on their client’s wants and needs at all times. Service-oriented facilitators are also committed to making sure that any and all interactions are all about the group–not about the facilitator. (Note that this component is reflected as Self-Orientation in the denominator of the Trust Equation – the idea here is to minimize a focus on self as much as possible.)

Service Orientation is so important that we’ve identified 20 tips for establishing yourself as a Service-oriented Facilitator:

1. Find out how your client defines success and how you can help them achieve it

2. Deliver “early and ugly” in the design phase – collaborate and iterate

3. Let go of trying to appear clever, bright, witty; it’s not a show and it’s not all about you

4. Put the PowerPoint deck aside – use stories, easel charts, and creative handouts instead

5. Don’t name-drop

6. Be self-deprecating

7. Give voice to your fears

8. Take risks

9. Don’t jump to a solution; give the group ample time to define and grapple with a problem

10. Know your own traps/triggers and make it your job (not your clients’) to manage them

11. Don’t interrupt

12. Answer direct questions with direct answers

13. Practice active/reflective listening — constantly

14. Be really honest even (especially) when it makes you look bad

15. Give others credit for successes

16. Take responsibility for failed communications

17. Confront issues as they arise (e.g., when ground rules are broken) -being preoccupied with them keeps your attention on your own preoccupation

18. Be willing to turn leadership of the group over to the group at an appropriate time

19. Let someone in the group have the last word, even (especially) when you”re dying to add your piece

20. Take time to solicit “plus/delta” feedback; hear it all with grace and good humor

Clients who experience you as Service-oriented can be heard saying, “I trust that she cares about xyz.” As a result, they’ll trust your leadership of the group.

Credibility, Reliability, Connectedness, and Service-orientation: four secret ingredients to turning any client meeting of any size into an opportunity for a double-whammy: exceeding expected results while simultaneously building trust.

Email us to receive our one-page handout called “50+ Tips for Building your Trustworthiness as a Facilitator.”

Originally published by BossaNova Consulting Group, Inc.
The following two tabs change content below.
Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).

Was this content valuable?
Get weekly tips delivered to your (virtual) doorstep


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact us | Subscribe