6 easy ways to prepare you well for a difficult conversation

  1. Breaking down the cost of the impact of a difficult conversation before the conversation actually happens

📦 Fact Box 📦

  • The employee turnover comes to an average of 15.8% a year.
  • As a leader, you spend between 0.9 to 3.3 hours on conflict at work.
  • It takes 48 days between the advertising of a job and getting an offer accepted.
  • The average time for a new recruit to get up to speed is 28 days.
  • On average the cost to employers of replacing a single member of staff is more than 30.


By dealing with those conversations immediately and in the right way, you are decreasing 📉

  • Resistance
  • Conflict
  • Resentment
  • Gossiping, retaliation
  • Staff turnover
  • Absenteism
  • Litigation
  • Lost time
  • Tribunal and psychological injury claims (injury to feelings)
  • Cost spent on recruitment

By dealing with those conversations immediately and in the right way, you are increasing 📈

  • Productivity
  • Staff motivation

Coaching question: What’s the financial impact of your potential difficult conversation?



2. Using your body language to help you when you are having a difficult conversation

Body language says a lot about you. Research suggests that only 5 percent effect is produced by the spoken word, 45 percent by the tone, inflexion, and other elements of voice, and 50 percent by body language, movements, eye contact. 💯 Non verbal communication can play 5 roles:

  • Repetition: It repeats and strengthens the message you’re making verbally.
  • Contradiction: It can contradict the message you’re trying to convey, indicating to the person with whom you’re having a difficult conversation that you may not be telling the truth.
  • Substitution: It can replace a verbal message. You’ve heard of the expression ‘your face says it all’.
  • Complementing: It may add to your verbal message. As a leader, patting a colleague on the back while giving praise can increase the impact of your message.
  • Accenting: It may underline a verbal message and assert your position.



Coaching question: What do you do to project positive body language?



3. Knowing why’ you choose to have a difficult conversation

  • You have to deliver bad news or confront someone who you feel has betrayed you.
  • You have to take someone off a project or announce redundancy or reprimand.
  • You are asking for a raise.
  • You are rejecting an offer.
  • You are telling your boss you missed a deadline.
  • Your colleague has nothing to contribute to a brainstorming meeting.
  • Your colleague is arguing over territory/jurisdiction.
  • or a “that’s not my job description” conversation.



Coaching question: How do you prepare for the one you fear most?



4. Adapting your ‘behaviour’ to prepare for future trends of difficult conversations

Statistics allow us to make sense of and interpret a great deal of information. In psychology, we are also confronted by huge amounts of data. How do changes in one variable impact other variables? Psychologists use the data they have collected to test a hypothesis or a guess what they predict will happen. The results of a Deloitte 2018 survey are striking:

🖋️ 44% of respondents believe that face-to-face meetings will decrease in the future.

🖋️ 30% believe that phone and text usage will decrease.

🖋️ 70% believe that workers will spend more time on collaboration platforms.

🖋️ 62% predict an increase in instant messaging.


Coaching question: How might you change your conversation with your team (s) if face-to-face meetings are to decrease?



5. Making hypotheses about difficult conversations in the future?



Coaching question: What does the impact of conflict look like in your organisation?



6. Using the Johari Window model for immediate impact on the quality of your conversations with your teams

The good news is that it’s easy to use!

  • The Public Self is the part of yourself that you are happy to share with others and discuss openly.
  • The Private Self is the parts of yourself that are too private to share with others and you may feel vulnerable about them.
  • The Blind Self is the views that others have of you which may be different from those you have of yourself.
  • The Undiscovered Self is the part which neither you nor other people see. You may use adjectives to fill in the table and then reflect on the significance of these different words.

SO WHAT? Discover your colleagues’ ‘Blind Selves’ (perhaps by observing them, talking with them during team meetings, or by talking about them with their direct report) and then use this information in negotiations or when you want to influence them.




Coaching question: How could you use the Johari window to help you?



Have you ever had difficult conversations with colleagues about underperformance, missed deadlines or workload?

If yes, I want to work with you



I bet it wasn’t an easy conversation. And there are probably things you wish you’d done differently. If this sounds familiar, you need to join my Masterclass on Coaching for Managing Difficult Conversations on Thursday 28th March at Wallacespace near St Pancras, London.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Deep neuroscience research on how you can connect with your colleagues and how you can use it to have better conversations about difficult topics.
  • Common mistakes everyone makes going into difficult conversations and how you can avoid them.
  • The six pillars of conversation (Goal setting, Feedback and Feedforward, Check-ins, Reward, Career, Exit) and how you can become a confident communicator.

You will carry out a range of exercises from masterminding with peers all the way through to role plays and simulations (based on real-life scenarios) to make sure you get the best possible outcome and that you are able to use the skills that you have learnt.





About me: I am an Executive and Leadership Coach. I support leaders in all sectors to drive change, overcome stretched challenges, create a growth mindset through coaching. I help them build high performing teams, attract and retain top talent, and improve communication with sustainable results.I have over 20 years + experience in the C-suite managing a £15-million budget in the public sector. Coaching is my passion. I have coached and developed high performing teams as an educator around the world to over 25,000 students and 5,000 educators. I have driven radical change and can help you do the same through coaching.

I am proud that all my Masterclasses have been accredited by the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC). This means you can claim your 6 hours CPD training.



My ‘Coaching for Managing Difficult Conversations Masterclass’ is for you if:

– You are a leader who wants a confidential space to reflect and to share challenges and ideas– You would like to become more confident at mastering difficult conversations

– You are ready to focus on your goals and grow faster than ever in 2019!


My ‘Coaching for Managing Difficult Conversations Masterclass isn’t for you’ if:
– You are not open to learning new ways of resolving potential conflict
– You are not ready to commit to developing yourself and your team(s).


Want to join us? DM me if you’ve got any questions or email me.

Any questions? Let’s talk. Book a slot on my online calendar.


*** PS. There is only 1 place left.***


Thanks for reading my blog.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *