Practising Difficult Conversations

From Jess Sedler - Communication skills coach and trainer

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
— George Bernard Shaw

What natural habits get you into difficulty at work? What fears are limiting your personal and organisational growth?  The self-coaching book "Courage to Change" seeks to identify these behaviours and help you find the courage to change them. 

This dynamic experiential one day workshop focuses in on a practical and challenging area of development from the book; how to manage difficult conversations.

About the course

We all have tough conversations from time to time. If only we could be shown some skills and techniques that might help us, and practice them, before a real life conversation comes along….  Hang on, now you can!

My colleague Pradeep Jey and I will facilitate the day for you.  We are experienced actors and trainers, thus being able to combine acting out realistic challenging behaviours according to your brief with rigorous, insightful feedback and coaching.

The day will begin with some exploration of what difficult conversations can be, and why they might be challenging to each of us as individuals.  To help find the ‘courage to change’, we want to arm you with a toolkit: helpful theories and techniques to underpin practical skills. The toolkit will help you to self-identify problems and continue developing after this workshop. There’s no definitive list here, rather a menu of different options from which you can choose new ways of behaving if helpful to you.

This workshop is not about powerpoint. We learn best by doing and the day is structured around two large chunks of individual practice.
— Jess Sedler

We will look at the assumptions we make when we go into these tough conversations; the quality of our listening and questioning skills; and our ability to handle our own emotions. What are our individual obstacles? After group exercises and some input on these themes, we will split into two groups to put these into practice, using pre-written generic case studies.  The intention here is to create a friendly, safe, informal laboratory to experiment and try new things.  This is the first round of practice.

After lunch, we will layer up these new skills by adding more theory to the toolkit – notably Transactional Analysis as described in Martin’s book - and we will again practise in small groups to continue work from the morning and adding this theory in if helpful. This time we will use bespoke scenarios – a real life conversation that you might have faced or be facing to maximise the potential benefits to you.  What new approaches have we found? Towards the end of the afternoon, we will evaluate our strengths, look at where we can improve and what we are going to do to cement these new-found skills into everyday life.

This workshop is not about powerpoint.  Or abstract theory and thinking.  It is about depth, not breadth.  Fundamentally it holds that we learn best by doing.  The day is structured around two large chunks of individual practice; a unique opportunity in the training room.

We hope to see you soon.

Jessica and Pradeep

About the Team

Facilitators: Jessica Sedler and Pradeep Jey 

Jessica and Pradeep trained as actors and together have nearly twenty years experience coaching communication and leadership behaviours. They’ve trained across the corporate and public sectors and have seen first hand how experiential learning using drama helps to build confidence and courage to try new skills back in everyday life.     


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