Rapport is defined by "a close and harmonious relationship, in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well".

It is clear in that case that rapport can be of huge benefit to both yours and your client's motives.

Rapport is crucially important for the coaching profession. Clients seek to work with a coach to help them get to where they are now, to where they want to be in a variety of areas in their life, from their professional to personal life. Trust and understanding are therefore crucial for coaching to be successful. However, people can be unpredictable, and so building rapport is often an art, rather than an exact science.

Nevertheless, there are certain proven ways that help to build rapport with clients.

Here are our 3 top tips to help you instantly build rapport with your clients:

1.  Listen actively by being completely present

Have you ever been so distracted during a conversation that you find it difficult to focus on what the person speaking to you is saying? Do you ever find yourself thinking about your response to what they are saying, and so not truly listening to what they say?

Active listening shows that you are genuinely interested in your client, and that you understand them. In a client-coach relationship, the conversation should be for the benefit of your client. If the client is paying for your services, then they are paying you to listen. Only by clearing your mind of your noisy inner chatter, you can be truly present and give all of your attention to understanding and showing interest in your client.

2.  Understand your client’s personality 

Many people use the phrase: “I always treat people the way I would expect to be treated”. Yet, we are all different. William Marston, American Psychologist and inventor of the modern lie detector, noticed four fundamental personality profiles in human behaviour: Dominant, Influencing, Stable, Conscientiousness. Today, Marston’s DISC Assessment Tool is used in the professional world to understand the personalities, motivations and life approaches of individuals within a team. This can also help in building rapport in the client-coach relationship.

For example, a “dominant” personality profile may indicate that an individual may be more motivated by results and achievement than others. They may be more outgoing and enjoy a challenge. A more “stable” personality profile may prefer security rather than challenge, and can be more considered and steady in their approach to challenges. Using DISC can help you to understand their motivations, and so to focus your meetings on what matters to them. This can show that you care about the clients’ motivations.

3.  Adapt your communication style to that of your clients

Understanding the personality type of your client can also help you to communicate in the way that they prefer. For example, when communicating with an individual with the D-style personality, who can be determined and fast-movers, it can be helpful to get straight to the point, rather than overwhelm them with details.

On the flip-side, an individual who favours conscientiousness, the opposite approach may be more helpful: they may tend to feel more comfortable when you give them the time and space in your conversations to consider the whole picture, which helps them to respond in a way that feels right to them.

Rapport can help your client to get the most out of your interactions, in any industry, but especially in coaching. Experiment with these three strategies to help to build instant rapport, but note that the key to rapport is adapting to your client.

The more time you spend with a client, the more you will get to know what is right for them.

Find out more about how you can train to put DISC into practice, including getting a deeper understanding of the personality profiles, and how to carry out DISC assessments.

Join DISC Master Trainer, Dave Pill for the DISC Accreditation Day on the 8th July 2017 in London as he shares the knowledge he has acquired during two decades as a DISC expert. 


Client rapport


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