Chapter 9

Risk

There is no trust without risk. The ability to build intimacy depends upon willingness and efficacy with risk-taking. Those who tend to avoid risk lose priceless trust-building opportunities, while those who master risk-taking as a skill learn to employ what is paradoxically the greatest risk-mitigation strategy. This chapter provides you with further insight into the relationship between trust and risk, along with a list of practices that expand your comfort and agility with risk-taking. You also get two tools for your risk toolkit: the three-question transparency test and Name It and Claim It.

A client of ours we’ll call Jared describes being in a sales meeting. At a key point during the meeting, Jared’s potential clients grew silent, in a way that made Jared feel uncomfortable. The awkward moment passed, and the meeting proceeded. During the debriefing, Jared and his colleagues discovered they had all been uncomfortable with the silence. They had no idea how to interpret it. Jared recounted, “We couldn’t tell if they were quiet because they were turned off, or because they were really impressed!”

Jared and his colleagues wanted very much to be seen as trusted advisors to their prospective client. Here’s the coaching question for them: Why did you choose not to inquire what was behind the silence at the time? Choosing not to comment on the silence led to a missed opportunity for trust-building and new business.

More often than not, the simple reason Jared (and ...

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