For people navigating the healthcare system, trust in their medical team is so incredibly important.

During initial consultations with medical teams from three top cancer treatment centers in Los Angeles, Gary (my late husband) and I listened carefully to the information being provided in response to our well-researched list of questions.

We also paid attention to other cues. Was the team organized with all his test results and background information? Were they relatively on time? Did they give us their focus and attention or were they rushing through to get on to their next thing? Did they use good eye contact and did they listen? And as author Malcolm Gladwell of The Tipping Point uncovers, there were a million other unspoken pieces of information that went into our decision of who we would entrust his life to.

Once we made our decision, we entered into the partnership with 100% belief in the treatment approach his oncologist set in motion. We did not follow in blind faith (check out The Last Time I Sat on a Fence to know there are times and occasions where it is important to be an advocate and speak up) but we gave the doctor credit as being fully trustworthy. From there, the actions that followed became the barometer by which we could measure if he was maintaining the trust we had invested in him. He never faltered.

Some pieces of trust are given and some are earned. It is a fragile thing and easily broken. This is why as a coach, I always do my best to over-deliver. So when I engage in a relationship with a provider, I expect them to at least deliver on what they promised. If it is my first time engaging with them it’s even more important because I have many, many different choices. Sell me a dozen balloons and then deliver only hot air and you have lost my trust.

Trust is foundational to every relationship. Who do you trust? What is it about them that helps you to trust them? Notice these qualities and characteristics, then ask if this is how you show up for others. Taking an inventory on what creates trust for us in others is a great way to also self-assess and make sure we, too, are creating trust.

For healthcare providers, building trust and creating a safe space are two critical components to improving patient adherence to medication and recommended lifestyle changes. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on building trust as a provider.

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