Myths of Building Rapport - Delusion of Being Nice


There are tonnes of people who have a delusion of being nice. They think that the greatest masters of hypnosis and psychoanalysis were sweet and likeable people, so they should follow their footsteps.

One of the masters who gets constantly misconstrued in this way is Virgina Satir. She’s managed to build a post-mortem reputation of a nice and likeable person, while in fact, she was remarkably confrontational and aggressive with her clients to the brink of almost verbally abusing them.

This is also true for other great names such as Fritz Perls, Milton Erickson, Richard Bandler and many others. If you think rapport is all about getting your clients to like you, then you missed the point of what rapport actually is. What you want to achieve is for them to get that you and they are in the same direction, aiming for the same things.

Rapport is pacing the structural process form, not the content form. It has nothing to do with other people thinking that you are a great person. In fact, if you want other people to like you, find something else to do for a living. This isn’t the business for you.

If you think that coaching, consulting, therapy, training, advice giving etc. is about other people liking you and feeling good about what you’ve done for them, you need to reconsider your profession.

This business is for people who don’t need others to approve of them so that they can be free to help people in the way that best serves a particular person without mixing themselves up in his/her life.

In fact, one of the most effective things you can offer your clients as a professional in this field is absolute invisibility and transparency, so that when you are done with them none of you lingers in each other’s lives. What should stay with them is the lessons they’ve learned from you and the appreciation for the changes they have made as a result of the interaction with you, but very little else about you. Clients will not hire you to be their professional friend, but rather to help them move on in their lives.

So, instead of moving towards rapport in terms of connecting to your client on a personal level, you should move towards trust and compliance by establishing credibility and recognition of competence necessary for the person you are working with to act on the instructions you give them and to make sure that you, as the advice giver, are only giving instructions where your competence resides.

On the other hand, if you find yourself on an insecure ground you should use qualifiers such as ” I think” or “Maybe” so there is clear understanding that this is not professional advice, but rather a speculation. And when you begin to apply this, you will establish a whole new level of credibility; and from credibility comes trust, from a trust, comes compliance.

When a client can trust you to get professional advice in your area of expertise and acts on your instructions because they have reason to believe that acting in such a way will generate the results they want, you become a very valuable individual in regards to his resources.

And this, in itself, is an altered state experience for most people, because they allow themselves to open to the point of being responsive to an instruction set given by another individual that they are going to act upon. In order to have that level of alignment and congruity, it means you will have to let go off all the desires you might have for them to think well of you, other than to think well of your expertise.