Ep #9: Trust + How to Create Emotions with Alison Moses

GUEST: Alison Moses

Alison Moses is a Director of Business IT for HomeServe Membership, a leading Home Assistance provider in the UK. In her previous role, Alison built out the digital platform and team, to work using SCRUM (agile). She is now working with the IT leadership team to scale agile across the wider technology organisation. Outside of HomeServe, Alison is a mum to two young girls, and occasionally finds time to throw together a wedding or birthday cake.

We usually think trust will develop if we just wait long enough – oh, and if the other person does exactly what we ask. But what if there was a better way?. But what if there was a better way?

There is. Trust is an emotion so it’s created by how we’re thinking, not by what anyone else does.

Today I’m teaching you how not to approach creating trust with your co-workers (expect them to do exactly what you want) and how to create trust for them using two really simple techniques.


  • Why trust is a choice we make, not something someone else earns
  • Why choosing to trust yourself plays a critical role in creating a big impact at work
  • Why we must trust our reports if we want them to grow – and how to recognize when you’re not
  • How to balance between trusting your reports and ensuring they have your support in areas where they’re growing
  • How to bootstrap trust for a co-worker you don’t know very well


  1. Identify what makes it easy for you to feel trust and find ways to create more of those circumstances with your co-workers.
  2. Choose a new thought that will help you create more trust and practice it intentionally.

Download this week’s Podcast Guide for printable pages for this week’s exercise, deeper explanations of this episode’s main takeaways, my Manager Notes with tips from my conversation with Alison, and printable quote cards to help you remember key lessons.



Trust + How to Create Emotions with Alison Moses

We often think that trust is something our co-workers have to earn. But trust is an emotion, meaning we create it for ourselves from how we choose to think. Today Emily and Alison Moses, Director of Business IT at HomeServe, talk about trust.

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Welcome to Emotional Leadership, the podcast for high achieving leaders. Because healthier emotional lives means stronger leadership, thriving teams and much bigger results.

Welcome leaders! I am having the most lovely long weekend for President’s Day recording five amazing episodes to share with you all.

The weather is gorgeous and sunny and I have got a beautiful view out over half of San Francisco and birds outside enjoying the flower boxes on our back steps. And of course I’m busy recording tools for you all, which is my very favorite part of the day.

Today, we’re going to be talking about trust with my guest, Alison Moses from HomeServe. Trust is an emotion I’m really excited to cover because I think there are so many misconceptions about it. Alison and I are going to talk about some of the many ways that feeling trust speeds us up and lets our team members grow and flourish. You want to work with a team you trust, right?

Of course! Because there are so many benefits to it. We get more work done. We do it faster. We communicate more clearly. And we enjoy our work a whole lot more!

But where most of us go wrong is that we think our feeling of trust is something the other person controls. We think that the other person has to perform a specific set of actions for us to be able to trust them. But let’s step back quickly to the model. And if you don’t remember what the model is, it’s the core and most powerful tool I teach. So make sure you check out Episode 5 after you’ve finished listening to this one. If you remember, the model tells us that our thoughts cause our feelings. Other people’s actions never cause our feelings. And since trust is an emotion, the only thing that can cause it is how we choose to think.

Yup. I want you to hear that again. What someone else does or doesn’t do IS NOT THE CAUSE of why you trust them or don’t trust them. Your trust is something you create in your own mind with your own thoughts.

So why is this important? How does trust help us deliver on our big results?

Well, one of the reasons so many of us don’t go after the projects we’re excited about is that we think we don’t have enough time. How much extra time would you have if you stop checking up on everything every member of your team does? Or if you stopped occasionally doing their work for them? What have you stopped stewing about what your product manager or boss was doing wrong or preparing defensively before a meeting with a peer?

There’s lots of time to be gained back by choosing to trust and lots of time you can create for the future because when we let our team members learn and grow, they can take on more and more, with less and less work from us. And now you know how to create time! You are welcome.

So, let’s dive into my chat with Alison on creating trust. I’ll see you on the other side with a really actionable tool you can use this week to teach yourself exactly how to create trust or any other emotion you want. You can even use this with your team to help them create emotions like trust, motivation and confidence.

Begin Guest Segment

I am so excited to have Alison Moses, the Director of Business IT from HomeServe with us. Alison, can you just give people a quick intro to who you are?

Hi, good evening, Emily. How are you doing?


So I’m fairly new to role–I’ve only been in for about a year now. I look after a team of about twenty-five people and our main role is understanding our business area’s requirements and then translating those into technical change and then delivering them to our various platforms. I’m also a very busy mum of two young girls, so don’t get much time in between those two things.

So the opening question that I love is: what do you love about managing and leading?

I don’t know, it’s a strange one really. I think when I was first given the opportunity to take on a sort of people leadership role, I wasn’t overly keen, I was really happy doing sort of a day-to-day project management type stuff. But since I’ve taken it on–that would’ve been sort of about eight years ago–I’ve just grown to love it more and more. I think seeing people develop, seeing the opportunities that you can give and how you can help grow people has really sort of sparked something in me. I think there’s always something to learn about leadership. No day, no one day is the same. People can be quirky, so it’s always a fun challenge.

So today we’re talking about trust. I’d love to start off with just, What does trust mean to you?

Yeah, I guess when I was thinking about this, trust sort of fell into a few things for me. I think number one for me has to be around honesty. I think, you know, you can’t have trust without feeling like the person that you’re sort of having that relationship with is being open and honest. And I think the other thing that’s really important to me is clear communication. I think those two things, above everything, are kind of the key aspects that I thought about when I was thinking about trust.

One of the things that I teach as a coach is that all of our feelings come from our thoughts. And trust is one of those feelings or emotions, right? And so I love the idea that it comes just from our thoughts. And so, one of the pieces that you were talking about a second ago are so much the things that make it EASY for us to feel trust, right? And I’m curious, what about communication and honesty makes it easy for you to feel trust for the other person?

I think with clear communication, you can really understand where somebody is at. I think particularly when I’m at work, I’m very reliant on other people within the team to manage and own sort of big areas of my accountabilities. And I think I need regular updates. I need to know that that’s happening. And I think through that, I then trust that it’s under control and that I can see the kind of outcomes around that. And that gives me a lot more sort of confidence around where I’m at with someone. Also, I think from an honesty perspective, if you’re not getting an honest reflection of where somebody’s at with either a piece of work, or honesty in terms of feedback or the way that they’re responding to you, it’s very difficult to kind of move your relationship forward because you never quite know where you’re at with them.

Yeah. So it sounds like for you, trust towards someone else is much easier to feel when you know what you’re going to get and you have a pretty good sense of like, I know what to expect when I’m working with this person. One of the other pieces, and we’ll actually talk about this a lot more in the exercise at the end of this episode, is talking about the idea of our relationship as just our thoughts in our head, which means that we can have an amazing relationship with someone and they can have a terrible relationship with us or vice versa. And I loved kind of the way you were alluding to that around this idea of open and honest communication, which is, liking to know what is the other person’s relationship with you like, how were they thinking about you, that helps you anticipate how they’re going to show up when you interact.

Yeah, no, definitely.

One of the other things we were talking about, kinda remember thinking about prep for this episode, right, is trust for other people, but also trust in ourselves. So I’m curious, kind of same idea: What makes it easy for you to feel trust in yourself?

I think one of the things I think about when I feel trust for myself, is about more towards my capability and whether, if I feel that I’m capable of doing something, I feel I trust myself to move forwards and to do that thing. I think the times when I start to sort of feel distrust for myself are the times when I start to feel that fear of failing the fear of not showing up in the right way or not demonstrating my capability in the right way, which then sort of prevents me from showing myself in the way that I want to be seen.

So when you are really trusting yourself, how do you show up at work that makes that just a better experience?

I think I’m confident and I kind of charge forwards with the things that I need to do. In meetings, I can have my voice heard at the table and be a part of the leadership conversations.

How does that shift when you’re not feeling trust for yourself?

I think I’m a natural introvert, so I think when I don’t–when I do start to feel that I’m not trusting myself because I don’t feel like I’ve got the capability to be part of the conversation in the room or I feel that other people have more capability and I do start to distrust myself, then I’m more likely to kind of retreat and not to become, not to be part of the room, which means I’m not really giving my whole self. I’m not really, you know, being fully part of showing more my capabilities.

And what are some of the problems you notice at work when you choose not to trust someone else? What’s an example, maybe, of a place where there was someone you were working with, whether it was a peer, a report, or a manager and you were having trouble experiencing trust when you thought about them? And why was it a problem that you weren’t feeling trust for them?

So I think I have a few examples, on a day-to-day basis where I’ve kind of got, maybe, a member of staff that’s working towards a pack or a presentation to give to an executive member. At that point, I know that there’s all eyes on us and I want to make sure that, you know, we get a really good outcome. I guess if I’ve had experiences with that individual before, where they haven’t necessarily really hit that in the right way or the pack’s been slightly not where I expected it to be, then I’m likely to be a little bit on edge about whether this person’s going to do the same, you know, have the same outcome again. And I guess when that happens, I’m more likely to start to want to intervene. But I know at that point, that’s not a good experience for that individual because I start kind of questioning and wanting to understand how they’re taking it forward. So I think it can start to hinder their kind of way of taking things forwards and starts to affect the way that they might have done that activity.

One of my favorite questions is the magic wand question. If you could take that moment and you could just summon trust and feel it fully, what do you think would be different about the experience for you?

I think it would be great if I could sort of coach them through that situation. I think often in a position of kind of stress, when you’re trying to get through activities, you can quite often go quickly into the mode of sort of tell and sitting down and starting to critique or even changing things on behalf of people. I think if we can take that moment to kind of recognize that, at this point, I’m not fully trusting this person–whether it’s their capability or they’re not updating you on where they’re at from a sort of communication [standpoint], they’re not telling you where they’re at and how they’re gonna move it forward, to try and sort of understand where they’re at and start to help coach them through how I want it to be different or how it should be different.

I think it’s something that’s so challenging for so many leaders, coaching and guiding and asking questions, instead of stepping in and doing the work for someone and changing it. Especially if–you know, you were talking about putting together packs for executive members–and you want that work to be done well, you want your team to show well and I imagine you have a lot of opinions about what good looks like. And so, how do you notice in that moment, Oh, I’m not trusting this person and I’m about to show up in a way that is not going to work for us?

I think recognizing, in that moment, that I’m starting to stray into kind of the territory of I’m taking over or that I’m starting to work things for myself, and starting to step back at that point and say, hang on, what’s going on here? Oh, okay, I’m concerned about their capability or I’m concerned that they haven’t updated me on how they’re going to take this forwards. And I guess trying to address those things. So either coaching them through, if it’s a capability issue or sitting down and helping them to kind of explain through the process that we’re going to follow, figure out what’s the output they’re trying to get to? It may just be that they haven’t told me how they’re going to do that and therefore actually they will get to the right outcome and I could have stepped in and just sort of taken over at that point. And I think you take over too many times and there becomes a bit of a reliance on you to continue to do that.

Yeah, and I love that portion you just mentioned, you notice that YOU’RE not trusting the person on your team, but that’s not necessarily related to how well they’re ACTUALLY doing the work, right? And that what you were noticing was you were thinking, well, I don’t know what they’re going to do, I don’t even know if they have a plan, and they have a great one and it seems like it’s going fine once you dig in. And I love just going to pulling out and noticing how often we don’t trust because we don’t have information, as opposed to there’s actually something that’s going on going wrong or going sideways or something’s going to be a problem here. So what are some of the approaches that you use to feel that trust? Even when you can’t see the details of someone’s project or you know they’re growing and you know they’re working in this area, but you know they’ve got some room to grow. How do you feel trust anyway so that you’re showing up the way you want to?

I definitely like to kind of check in with people regularly, whether that’s ad hoc or as part of kind of formal conversations, just to see how they getting on and to ask if they need any help or support, ask if they need to talk through the situation. Like in the example of the packs, you know, do they want to talk through the approach that they’re taking and do they want any kind of support in talking through that? My trust starts to build more then, and I’ve kind of opened up the conversations to enable them to reach out where they need to. And they hopefully trust me more because I’m not sort of just wading in, but they know that they’re trusted to do the right thing in the way that they believe is correct.

So there’s this bit that you just mentioned, right? Which is someone else feeling TRUSTED. When we look at the world through the lens that all of our emotions are created by our own thoughts, no one else’s actions can create a feeling of trust in us towards them. But there’s also nothing we can do to make our team trust us. They have to think their own thoughts about it. So we’ve talked about some of the reasons why sometimes we find it hard to trust folks. I’m curious to talk about, what’s a place where you chose to trust someone even though maybe you didn’t have a ton of evidence already built up behind it?

Yeah, I think recently we’ve had someone join our team, who knows one of my peers and he’s worked with him before and is sort of a personal friend of his. And he talks to me a lot about this individual, and he’s not using the word trustworthy, but [talks about] how he much relies on him and how he respects his opinions. And I think when I first met him, it felt like some of that almost “borrowed” trust had sort of passed across because I felt like I knew that this individual was competent and trustworthy. And then when I did meet him, he was very open and honest, which then sort of almost “completed” the picture from my perspective. And I think the relationship with him has grown really quickly because of the trust or the perceived trust that I’ve seen from someone I trust.

We often think that trust is something that someone has to earn, that we have to watch them behave a certain way and meet certain expectations of ours over and over and over before we can trust them. And yet, we can always look around and find all these moments where we chose to trust without having that level of proof. And I always think identifying those is really useful–they give us their own sort of proof that we can just choose to trust.

Yeah. And I definitely think that was the case. We very quickly built that relationship and I think, as you say, a lot of that was passed on from someone else. It teaches you something about being more open about trusting people, because it’s only through, I guess, word of mouth and trusting somebody else’s opinion that I felt that way. So maybe being more open to trust people in the early stages of meeting them might mean you’re actually pleasantly surprised, and that you are more open to building a relationship.

And I think that’s such an interesting observation, because when we think about what psychology has told us about how our brains work, we’re always looking for proof of what we already believe. And we’re always dismissing proof of what we don’t believe! And so I love the idea of just walking into a new relationship and intentionally extending trust, I think what you found with this person you’d hired was that you came in trusting them and you found so much more proof, so many more reasons for why they were trustworthy. I love the idea that we can kind of extend that to everyone that we work with and that that’s what we’re teaching our brain to look for examples. What are your tips for other leaders about how they can use trust to be an even better manager and even better leader?

With your team, I’d certainly think about improving communication through regular updates or ad-hoc catch-ups, particularly if communication is one of the important elements of trust to you, like it is for myself. I think coaching people through capability issues will not only build your confidence, but also will build their confidence and prevent you from sort of stepping in and taking over from them when you don’t feel trust in the things that they’re doing. We can’t succeed [alone]–we need our team to feel that they’re trusted and that they can operate and be the best that they can be. A lack of trust can often prevent them from taking things in the way that they would have typically done because you kind of step in and start to intervene and guide things in a potentially different direction. So it helps to get the best out of people.

What are your thoughts for other leaders on how they can trust themselves better?

I think you’ve just got to, we say this phrase a bit, but get comfortable being uncomfortable and embrace some of that vulnerability. You can paralyze yourself because you’re too afraid of trying things because you’re not trusting your own capabilities or your ability to move things forward. And I think you’ve just got to try and recognize when you’re mistrusting yourself and find ways to jump two feet in and give it a go. Because ultimately you’ll learn from that and adjust your behaviors. But if you don’t give it a go, you won’t ever be able to improve or move forward.

Yeah, absolutely.

End Guest Segment

Wasn’t that fun? Thank you so much Alison, and I’m so lucky to be part of a mastermind group with her led by the amazing Dave Stachowiak over at Coaching for Leaders.

At the beginning of the episode, I promised to teach you a really actionable tool you can use to teach yourself exactly how to create trust or any other emotion you want. So, here we go.

Trust is an emotion, so it comes from our thoughts. We can think about our thoughts as coming into categories: Default Thoughts, which are the thoughts that are really easy for you to think, and Intentional Thoughts, which are thoughts we’re choosing to think and practice, even though they don’t come naturally yet.

When you want to create an emotion for yourself at work, there are two basic paths you can take, one based on each of those thought types: default and intentional.

The first path is understanding what makes it easy for you to feel trust and intentionally create more of those circumstances. This is fast and powerful, but it has serious limitations. The second path is teaching yourself new thoughts to create feelings of trust. This can take a little bit longer but it’s far more flexible. It opens up a world of opportunities because you’re taking all of your own power back in every situation you’re in. You’re choosing how to think about it, you’re deciding what you want to create and you’re thinking the thoughts that get you there, regardless of what anyone else does. THIS is where the real power lies.

First, let’s talk about how to leverage your Default Thoughts to create more trust. This is very similar to what Alison and I were talking about. Your first step is to understand what thoughts currently create feelings of trust for you. Then you try to create circumstances in which those things can happen.

I mentioned that this technique has serious limitations. That’s because we can’t change other people. Alison gave an example that shows this distinction well: she can set up check in meetings with her team, but she can’t actually make them communicate clearly or honestly with her. She can just make it clear those things are valuable to her and make it easy for her team to have opportunities to behave that way.

The second approach sounds harder, but it can often yield faster and easier results, because we’re not trying to change someone else. In this approach, we leverage Intentional Thoughts. We add additional criteria to the list of things that makes it easy for us to trust someone. Suppose you had a list of criteria for trust that looked like the one Alison and I discussed: clear communication, the perception of honesty or an endorsement from someone you already trust.

And what if we chose to add a new item to it? Say, “Anyone I hire” or “Anyone who works for my company”. How would that change your approaches at work? It could be pretty radical for some of you!

And think of how much time you’ll get back and how much energy you’ll get back and how much drama you’ll be able to get rid of! TOTALLY worth it.

So how do you do this? You choose a new thought, like “I give someone an offer because I trust them.” Or you could borrow Garrett Ledbetter’s thought from Episode 7: “Everyone is always doing their best.” And then you make an intentional practice of that thought. So here’s what I want you to do in your growth time this week, the 10 minutes a day you’ve set aside on your work calendar.

I want you to take one of these questions and ask yourself each day, and then spend 10 minutes answering it.

Here are the questions for this week:

What makes it easy for me to trust someone?

How can I create more opportunities for my reports or other coworkers to do these things where I can see them?

What could I add to my list of criteria so that there are new ways I can learn to trust coworkers?

What is the specific thought I’ll choose to think?

And then do a model on that thought. Remember that what you want to put in the feeling line of that model is trust. You’re going to think this thought and you’re going to feel trust. And when you’re thinking this thought and feeling trust, how are you showing up? What results is that creating in your life?

And, finally: What are three specific circumstances where you want to make this new thought your default thought?

As always, I’ve got an awesome podcast guide that you can download that gives you these questions, day-by-day, with space to write your answers. You can even type in the PDF if you prefer. Grab it from the link in the show notes or by texting MORETRUST to 44222. That’s both words together with no spaces: MORETRUST. Sorry for the extra words this time; it turns out you can’t use anything shorter than six characters for the keyword!

Have an amazing week. Keep your eye out for all the places that you’re trying to withhold trust from someone because you think that other people create your emotions. Remember, you’re the only person who creates them. They come from how you think, and you can choose to create any emotion you want, including trust, at any time. Have a fantastic week and I will see you back soon!

If you loved this episode and want to dive deeper into improving your own emotional health so you can feel better and have bigger results at work, you have to join me for a one-on-one call. We’ll talk about where you are, where you want to be, and create a solid plan to get from here to there. Just visit go.exceptional.vision/call. See you there!