Coach Paul Chryst on Building Relationships and Trust

Earlier this week I wrote about the new coach of the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens. In this post
( we learned that Stevens has been very focused on building relationships with his players since he started his new job with the Celtics. Writing about Stevens reminded me of a similar philosophy displayed by Paul Chryst when he became the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh.

Two months after Chryst was hired by the Pitt Panthers, the University’s daily newspaper, The Pitt News, reported on the coach’s first few weeks on the job. The paper noted how Chryst had “been working hard to build relationships and trust with the Pitt players.” Chryst said at the time, “Your actions have to match your words, and they have to do it consistently over time. You are just starting to build relationships right now. It’s not like there’s a five-minute conversation and there’s trust.”

Chryst spent time meeting with each player in individual meetings. He used these meetings to get to know his players and to understand where they were from and what it is that makes each one unique. The individual meetings were not scheduled to discuss football, but rather, they provided a chance to get to know the players as people.

This week we have two great coaches teaching us how critical it is to build relationships and trust. We learn from Coach Chryst how valuable individual meetings can be; how important it is to get to know our team members, not just their work, but their lives and families as well; how building trust and relationships takes time, but is worth your investment in time and effort; and how you can’t just preach trust and caring, your actions must match your words.

Like Brad Stevens at the Celtics, Paul Chryst set the tone early with his Pitt Panthers team. He made developing relationships and building a culture of trust a top priority.  As leaders, when trust is the foundation for our relationships with our team members we develop committed, motivated, and unselfish teams. Teams with these qualities have a great chance of sustaining long-term success.  So start scheduling those individual meetings today; it’s a great way to get to know your team members and to build relationships and trust!

Thanks for reading,


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