How to Measure Trust for Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
I recently spoke with the senior VP of Human Resources of a Silicon Valley company regarding providing executive coaching for the company CEO who she described as having some blind spots related to developing trust. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I work with different personality styles, and my methods for helping cultivate a culture of trust.

The senior VP of HR and I talked about my approach to executive coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience and emotional intelligence are important competencies for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her company to create a high involvement culture where innovation and creativity flourish.

The senior VP of HR is interested in collaborating with me in helping create a high involvement corporate culture based on trust and respect. We further discussed how company executives might benefit by working with a seasoned emotional intelligence-based executive coach.

Measuring Trust

Consultants Maister, Green and Galford use the four components of trust to provide a concrete measurement tool they call the “Trust Equation”:

Trust = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy


Let’s measure one of your work relationships. Choose a subordinate or team member—someone you deal with on a regular basis.

1. Give each factor at the top of the equation—credibility, reliability and intimacy—a rating from 1 (low) to 10 (high). Ask yourself:
  • How much credibility do you have with this person?

  • How much reliability is there between you?

  • How close, open and honest are you with each other?

Add up the three numbers.

2. Next, rate your degree of self-orientation (how much of yourself you insert into your conversations) from 1 to 10. Factor in the following criteria:

  • Are you basically self-oriented, focused on what you think and want from the relationship?

  • If you’re a direct supervisor, do you focus primarily on your expectations and results? If so, consider yourself highly self-oriented.

  • If your leadership style is coaching-oriented, your self-involvement is lower, as you encourage others to come up with solutions.

3. Determine your total score by dividing the first (top) number by the second (bottom) number. According to the authors, a score of about “5” equates to a trustworthy relationship, while a score of about “1.25” would demonstrate low trust.

You can lower your level of self-orientation by increasing self-awareness. The more you understand your quirks and weaknesses, the better you can rein in your ego and focus on others.

Leaders who fail to gain subordinates’ trust will always struggle to be influential and inspirational. Focus on the four key components of trust, and measure your overall trustworthiness. Your score will clarify the action steps you must take to increase trust.

You can develop the qualities of trustworthy leadership by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put trust building leadership skills into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more conscious, and tap into the trust of followers? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a trust building leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.