7 Secrets Revealed by a Life Coach About Tough Conversations

Dr. Purushothaman
January 14, 2014


Is there person you need to have a conversation with and have not be looking forward to it? Possibly, you have tried it before and it went poorly. Maybe you are afraid that speaking with them is only going to make matters worse. For whatever the reason, you can feel the tension. One of the most frequent obstacles to real conversation is that people do not know where to start. A life coach can work with you to help your relationships get beyond the mediocre especially during difficult conversations.

You will have to say things in a respectful way, even if you think the other person isn't deserving. What if you want to address a problem and the other person does not. It may be tempting to demand or confront the person. What should you do if you must have a tough conversation about an important matter but the other person resists. If you are more cheerful person or upbeat personality or if you are at a differing levels of responsibility or authority this can make communication more difficult. You should respect other person and be willing listen. You should keep this in mind when your in a ugly conversation, the goal is to resolve whatever issue is between us.

Leaders know it is paramount to have people who want to share and accomplish the goals of the team. However, there are some people seem to always be having difficult conversations. And then there are some people avoid challenging conversations because they are uncomfortable with conflict. They feel it is not worth the effort or are concerned that they will hurt the relationship if they speak out.

Here are four things to remember:

Do not leave too much time between the incident and talking about it.
Try to learn as much as possible about the other's point of view. Do not have a preconceived ideas.
Acknowledge what they say and do not interrupt.
Desire to make things right and make it clear to them.

Seven Secrets Revealed

1. People are not able understand and process what another is saying while planning they will say or they are interrupting. The conversation that is playing out in your head prevents you from listening with empathy. It may come as a surprise but, when you seek first to understand you learn what is the best way to handle the issue. The English diplomat Sir John Lubbock in 19th century said, "What we see depends mainly on what we look for."

2. It will almost always be best to bring it up the issue in private. When you have public disagreements those around you feel uncomfortable. And the issue is not finished until you both are satisfied. After having had a rough conversation, both parties are likely to have questions and unresolved issues. Leaving the door open for another conversation will help to have closure. Do not be surprised if the person your interacting with is not pleasant to be with at this moment. Stress makes people do things they usually would not do. Just remember the circumstances are causing the problem, not those involved.

3. Do not wait long before having the conversation and be sure of what you want to say when you do. Letting the issue sit will not make it go away but will make it get worse. Resentment comes when a person has a problem and they feel like no one is doing anything about it. It is easier to keep a small problem from becoming larger by dealing with them as soon as possible.

4. Discuss only one issue at a time and stick to the facts. Do not speculate or give opinions. Dealing with too many issues at once is distracting and will make it harder to come to a solution. Speak simply and clearly. People interpret double-talk as an attempt to cover up the details and avoid responsibility.

5. Keep your attitude and volume in check and do not point fingers. An accusatory tone or yelling can seem intimidating. Your aggressive posture will impede progress to a point where you both lose. An aggressive front will cause those more reserved to shrink back and not say anything or worse, they will say anything to keep the peace. Two aggressive individuals can magnify the circumstances to a physical confrontation.

6. Always respect the other person and let them state their feelings or opinions. If you hear something that makes you uncomfortable, ask them to say it again and try to understand without being defensive. We often assume we know the entire story and insist we are right instead of trying to understand the other side of the story.

7. Looking the other person's point-of-view is the way to resolution. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you know what is going on inside the other person's head. Do not point out things the person has no control over and cannot change. Treating the person with respect and trying to come to a mutually satisfying solution is the way to show integrity. Taking responsibility and doing what it takes to make it right by follow up at your end will lead to success.

The best way to handle tough conversations with others is to avoid getting into them in the first place. But that is not always feasible and certainly not probable. Following these simple guidelines in your tough conversations will lead to relationships based on trust and respect. The conversation like any art is improved by making the basics good habits. Using the basic skills describe here will improve conversations. Just remember, the ultimate goal is to resolve the problem and maintain the relationship.

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