Leading in Challenging Conversations
Maintain relentless curiosity and openness during interpersonal challenges to create a positive environment
Bringing great people together to achieve results sometimes comes with challenges. Tensions rising, silos developing and the familiar tough spots that many teams have found themselves in. In times like these communication matters, and having a courageous conversation the right way can make all the difference. This course teaches professionals how to lead through challenging conversations and to help set the right tone for progress.
- Adopting the mindset that unsticks stuck relationships.
- Disarming tension through curiosity, accountability and understanding.
- Asking questions that deepen discussions and keep them focused.
- Listening and responding to encourage engagement and openness.
- Discussing experience and impact without blaming or meaning making.
- Establishing outcomes that reflect compromise and progress.
I. LEADING IN CHALLENGING CONVERSATIONS – MINDSET + SKILL SET
- How we lead in challenging conversations informs our ability to partner effectively.
- Leading in challenging conversations requires mindset + skill set.
- Mindset: Authenticity and Accessibility.
- Skill Set: Clarity of Thought and Expression.
- Workshop: In small groups, participants will discuss the mindset required to lead in challenging conversations, and why it’s difficult to find and maintain center.
II. CLARITY OF THOUGHT – MAINTAINING CENTER
- Finding center is crucial for a positive environment, but not always easy to maintain.
- Cultivating relentless curiosity and openness during interpersonal challenges.
- Everybody wants to tell their story: Our version matters, as does theirs.
- Distinguishing between personal experience and projected meaning.
- Workshop: Participants will reflect on a relationship where they have made meaning and identify the impact on their work experience.
III. CLARITY OF THOUGHT – LISTENING WITH INTENTION
- Using the question funnel to understand experience and impact.
- Using appreciative-inquiry to understand what our audience values.
- Encouraging our audience: Prompting, directing and acknowledging.
- Demonstrating understanding: Clarifying, paraphrasing and summary.
- Establishing the baseline: Noting discrepancies and correcting inaccuracies.
- Workshop: In pairs, participants will share a current, or previously experienced, challenging situation. As one partner shares, the other will respond with acknowledgement, clarifying questions or impact.
IV. CLARITY OF EXPRESSION – COMMUNICATING WITH BOUNDARIES
- Meeting at the center: Communicating to maximize openness.
- Staying accountable: Avoiding diminishing or amplifying.
- Communicating about ourselves rather than what “you” are doing.
- Communicating about experience and impact.
- Workshop: Participants will observe a challenging conversation and guide the facilitators on how to find center.
V. CLOSING THE SESSION
- Building your cadence – a daily effort.