Difficult conversations training

how to be courageous, diplomatic and achieve great results

Difficult Conversations

Know that feeling when you would rather do anything than have that awkward conversation with a team member? People in leadership positions simply cannot bury their heads in the sand and avoid having that conversation – they need to be able to confidently face conflict head on. When managers are courageous in addressing tough situations, team morale and performance soars.

This difficult conversations training course sets up participants to bite the bullet and address difficult situations early and assertively.

When leaders put a stop to issues early, they create better outcomes for everyone. Through enhancing their emotional intelligence, self-reflection, practice and group activities, participants build the confidence and assertive communication skills to manage tough conversations.

  • Supervisors, team leaders, managers and any other people leaders
  • Full day course. Half-day and shorter workshop options available
  • Run at your offices in-house, or virtual classroom

difficult conversations training goals are to:

  • recognise difficult situations early
  • give clear and assertive feedback
  • know how to prepare for and have a difficult conversation
  • use active listening skills with the intention to understand others
  • manage emotional reactions with emotional intelligence
  • come to an agreement and gain commitment to action
  • follow up on agreed actions and take further steps if needed.

Our facilitator will adapt the content and workshop style of this difficult conversations training course to the needs of the group.

The following is a one-day program outline, which we can cut to a half-day workshop based on agreed topics.

introduction and difficult conversations workshop overview

Participants will review the agenda for the day and the group will discuss their difficult  conversations training objectives.

recognising difficult situations

Participants learn how to identify situations that make it necessary to step in. They will explore why it is so important to invest time in and overcome any reluctance to having that difficult conversation.

is there really a problem?

Look before you leap. Before getting into a difficult conversation that is uncomfortable for both parties, the participants look at ways to double check what the true picture is. They explore gathering information and weighing up the value of their sources to ensure they are not jumping to conclusions.

Participants will also discuss the value of conflict and how to channel differing views to promote new ideas and innovation.

why hesitate and how to be courageous?

The group explores what makes it difficult to be part of a difficult conversation at work. They build their emotional intelligence to identify their fears and hesitations. As a group they will develop strategies to overcome their internal barriers, so they will face difficult conversations courageously when back at work.

asking questions and learning to listen

The groups take a step back to discuss communication methods and reviewing what effective communication with emotional intelligence in the workplace looks like. They will spend some time practising and observing verbal and non-verbal cues, questioning skills, listening skills, and understanding body language. They will discuss the challenges around communication and how easily misunderstandings and conflict can arise.

giving feedback

Giving feedback is one of the most important skills for a manager, yet it can be the trickiest and most difficult thing to do. This session will help all group members master the skill of giving both positive and developmental feedback in a respectful and motivating way. They will understand how to give regular positive feedback and how they can give differing feedback that is motivating the team.

planning and having a challenging conversation

Participants will review a framework for having any difficult conversation. Practice makes perfect so they will spend time to use the framework to launch into that conversation and reflect on how well it worked. Having practised in this safe setting sets participants up to have a successful difficult conversation in the real world, when they are under pressure and when it matters most.

dealing with resistance

Although participants can prepare for a difficult conversation and modify their approach with emotional intelligence, they cannot necessarily control the team member’s reaction. What if the other employee gets offended or denies there is a problem? In this section the group will learn how to handle a situation where the other person does not see things in the same way.

managing emotions

In a difficult conversation it takes emotional intelligence to deal with angry, crying, yelling people, or people that shut down or refuse to listen. Participants learn how to deal with emotional responses. They will also look at what they can do to leave their own emotions about it at work, and not let it personally affect them.

dealing with difficult team members

Participants will discuss how to deal with four common types of behavioural issues: team members being over-dependent; lazy; hostile or chronically complaining!  The participants will learn how best to manage these challenging behaviours to make for a much happier and productive workplace environment.

This difficult conversations training course is the perfect opportunity for participants to bring up difficult situations and difficult conversations they have faced or are facing at the moment. This course will be the perfect forum to problem solve the situation together, so they are ready to confront it with emotional intelligence the next day back at work.

why is emotional intelligence important for having difficult conversations?

A conversation requires at least two people talking to each other. Emotional intelligence plays a big part in helping to balance that conversation, saying what you need to but also listening to the response and asking relevant questions.

Sometimes the response or the way someone speaks is not as expected and you may need to rethink how you intended the conversation to go. Having that insight into what you are perceiving and adjusting your words and actions requires emotional skills. Emotional intelligence is also having self-awareness and being able to be rational about your perspective of the situation and letting go of any preconceptions you may have.

What is more, difficult conversations are situations where emotions can run high. An emotionally skilled individual is better able to anticipate these emotions and to take steps to avoid them becoming too strong. Also, EQ skills help in de-escalating emotions and ensuring the best outcomes given the situation.

In short, our difficult conversations training course is jam-packed with EQ skills because emotional intelligence skills make a difficult conversation easier for everyone!

"A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

-Timothy Ferriss, The 4 Hour Workweek

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) - the capability of individuals to recognise and manage their emotions and those of others.

Being aware of the concept of EQ and then developing it is essential for employees, regardless of their role. High EQ is no longer an add-on but a ‘must-have.’

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What are the benefits of difficult conversations training for your team leaders?

It can be hard work taking charge of a team. With different personality types, backgrounds, opinions, skills, understandings, and work ethics, there is bound to be some friction

Difficult conversations are inevitable in the workplace; however, an effective manager can make sure there is still a positive outcome for the team and that any issues are nipped in the bud with minimal impact. Avoiding the problem makes things worse, until the workplace becomes a toxic environment that affects the wellbeing and work of everyone in it. Certain subjects may be difficult to broach and your leaders may hesitate or not know how to proceed.
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Ensuring that your leaders undertake a difficult conversations training program equips them with the resources they need to handle all of the situations that may come up in the workplace: difficult behaviours, performance management, conflict between team members, discipline, personal issues, and more.

Rather than putting it off at the bottom of their to-do list, letting the problem fester, your leaders will learn how to hone their communication skills, appraise the situation and plan accordingly, and have calm conversations with their people that will lead to better results.

Get an instant training quote for your program by filling out the enquiry form below!

Better feedback

Not only is feedback crucial for fine-tuning your team’s performance and helping your employees meet their full potential, but it is also proven to build confidence and a connection with both leaders and organisations as a whole. Cultivating a feedback-rich culture — constant feedback, not just when things are going wrong or at performance reviews — increases employee engagement and retention.

This means that now, more than ever, it is a must for team leaders to know how to give effective feedback to their people. This is especially important for leaders who need to manage difficult behaviours, as feedback might be met with resistance. The delivery is key: calm, specific, direct. This is everything from the words you say during the conversation and the body language that accompanies them.
Our sessions will go over constructive feedback techniques, allowing your leaders to give better feedback and gently approach employees to boost results.

The importance of empathy in a difficult conversation

When it comes to having a difficult conversation, empathy is the key. This is why it is so crucial to incorporate EQ into workplace training courses, allowing leaders to improve their listening and questioning skills. Emotions are certain to run high when having difficult conversations in the workplace; being able to manage one’s emotions and respond empathetically to the other party’s is crucial for better outcomes.

There are three types of empathy, according to Daniel Goleman: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate. Cognitive empathy means that a leader is able to see from the other party’s point of view, while emotional empathy refers to the ability to relate to the other person’s emotions. The last — and perhaps most crucial — is compassionate empathy, where a leader is ready to take positive action and help their team member in whatever way is needed.

What can a difficult conversations training course do for my organisation?

Our training session is designed to equip your leaders with the information and tools they need for positive workplace interactions. With years of quality training experience, your trainer will be able to use real-life situations your leaders have encountered and equip them with practical solutions for better outcomes.

Whether participants are having these conversations face-to-face, online or via a written format, we go over the communication process and how leaders can plan and keep calm during difficult conversations.

We provide either online training with a virtual course or in person across Australia — Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and more — and beyond. Attendees that benefit the most from this course include managers and leaders (existing and emerging), as well as staff with direct or indirect reporting lines.

Ready to help your employees take on anything? Simply leave your name, email and other details below and get an instant quote for your virtual or in house training course today!