Delving Into Difficult Discussions

Improve your ability to have discussions that solve performance and interpersonal problems

Two people talking with puzzle thought bubbles

Addressing problems and navigating conflict are vital to creating an organization where people can thrive

Yet, despite all the benefits, teams, leaders, and organizations struggle to address problems and navigate conflict effectively.

By avoiding difficult discussions or using approaches that create persistent and escalating problems, we negatively impact motivation, engagement, and teamwork and create an environment where neither people nor performance can thrive.

Delving into Difficult Discussions

is a multi-session program that offers ideas and exercises to help you improve your ability to have difficult discussions and solve performance and interpersonal problems.

Thoughts Feelings Behaviour Results connection

Develop the thoughts and behaviours that lead to success

The Delving Into Difficult Discussions program helps you develop the thoughts and behaviours you need to plan and have conversations that lead to “win:win” outcomes, recognizing that success comes most easily when we perceive problems and conflict as positive, use emotional intelligence and assertive behaviours, and help others do the same.

When you apply the concepts in the program, you will find that many of the discussions you thought would be difficult are much easier than you expected.

Program Outline

Group of People Talking

Throughout this program you will be encouraged to develop new ways of thinking about and responding to the situations you face.

Changing your thinking and behaviour is easiest when you go slow, have a chance to put ideas into action, and have support. We meet several times so that we can introduce concepts over time, support you to make small changes, and give you an opportunity to talk about what’s working and what isn’t.

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SESSION 1

Conversations relating to performance and interpersonal problems tend to feel and become difficult because they trigger the stress response, resulting in aggressive and passive behaviours that become barriers to success. In this session we’ll explore safe spaces, reducing stress by reframing the way we think, using emotional intelligence, and choosing behaviours that support us to get the results we’re looking for.

SESSION 2

In this session, we’ll briefly discuss how systems thinking can help us have better conversations and more effectively solve problems. We’ll build upon the concept of creating safe spaces, reviewing the importance of the relationship and how to strengthen relationships to increase success. Finally, we’ll discuss what is involved in effective communication and some ideas on how to plan your communication.

SESSION 3

To effectively address problems, we must first be able to clearly articulate what we were expecting to be happening or not happening. This can be challenging, which is one of the reasons we have performance and interpersonal issues in the first place. In this module, we discuss the importance of identifying and discerning between expectations, facts, and interpretations. We present ideas for timing and location, reinforcing the importance of the safe space and present an approach to use to set your discussion up for success. We also offer some ideas for providing and receiving feedback.

SESSION 4

When attempting to address a problem and navigate conflict, you will likely encounter “protective behaviours.” There may be aggressive behaviours like getting defensive, yelling, blaming, and lying or passive behaviours like owning other people’s feelings or giving in to conflict. Effectively addressing a problem and navigating conflict requires knowing how to handle protective behaviours, including your own. You want to minimize the aggressive and passive behaviours that often show up in conflict so you can focus on the objective of working together to solve the problem. This module offers some more specific ways to apply the ideas presented in previous modules to increase your chances of having productive conversations and get the benefits of discussion and debate while minimizing the amount of protective behaviour.