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The Trust Creation Process

Trust is not something that happens overnight. In any relationship, trust is built overtime through dedication and hard work. Trust is created on an individual level, usually through conversations.

The Trust Creation Process (ELFEC)  is a five-step model that describes how it works.

Trust Creation Process

  1. Engage (E): Offer something of value in an open discussion about issues key to the other.
  2. Listen (L): Hear what is important and real to the other and earn the right to offer solutions.
  3. Frame (F): State the root issue in terms acceptable to both, using caveats, problem statements, and hypotheses. Take personal risks to explore sensitive issues in depth; articulate a point of view.
  4. Envision (E): Define an alternate reality or to be state of affairs, including win-win descriptions of outcomes and results along with emotional states.
  5. Commit (C): Jointly articulate actionable next steps that imply commitment and movement on the part of each party.

The order in which these steps occur in a conversation has as much impact as the steps themselves. You could do a wonderful job of framing the issue, but if you do it before you have adequately listened, then the trust process freezes or is broken down.

By far the most important step in the Trust Creating Process is listening. The two most common errors in relationship and trust building are inadequate listening and jumping too quickly to the final action step – to commit. This can pose a big challenge for most people and is one of the most important steps to conquer before you are able to build a solid foundation of trust.