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"MCC is one of the cleanest, most practical models I've seen for handling conflict and difficult conversations in the workplace. This course is filled with skills practice, is one of the reasons it is so effective. Participants walk out of this course with a sigh of relief, because they get real help and skills in understanding how to handle those situations that they have been struggling with forever. The course design is great, the TTT and very thorough for preparing others to facilitate this course, Eryn (Kalish) is masterful in the subject area and a great teacher." Chief Learning Officer - Financial Services Company

Managing Challenging Conversations:
Training for Managers and Team Leads

With organizations scrambling to adapt to a changing world and a difficult economy, managers need to be able to hold skillful, timely, difficult conversations. For life to proceed with minimal disruptions and maximum input from its stakeholders, the capacity for managing difficult conversations has become a key competency.

Whether the topic is delivering difficult news, giving tough performance feedback, or changing a policy, the reticence most managers feel about having difficult conversations with employees is common. In a recent study we conducted, we named this reluctance "the avoidance syndrome." We found it common for some managers to give feedback only during the time of the performance evaluation, long after an issue had been thought by the employee to have been resolved, causing frustration and low morale. Sometimes a lack of timely conversation between managers and employees led to poorly made decisions, stalled projects and loss of motivation by the employee.

Some managers, in their concern about triggering a reaction from an employee or a team, eventually have that conversation, but often in an unskillful or in an untimely way. When those ways of conversing deepen the problem, the manager often shuts down or withdraws and moves "the problem" to another department, or tolerates behavior that is damaging to the team or the organization. Many managers have a difficult time dealing with anger; some can't deal with silence or tears. This course covers all of the most difficult, intense, emotionally charged types of conversations that can occur with employees, customers, managers and peers.

During class, managers and team leads will spend a half-day learning how to create a framework for dealing with emotions that often feel difficult to work with. In addition, participants will practice a 5-Step Model for moving through difficult conversations. The framework and the model help managers to speak the truth without avoiding the "tough stuff" and to be able to listen even if they are triggered at what they are hearing.

Unlike many communication skills training courses, this class facilitates working with the wide range of emotions that people experience while having difficult conversations. It is energizing, and interactive and allows managers and team leads to obtain a lot of time to practice-in a safe environment-the types of difficult conversations that have become more a part of daily life.


Module 1: Building on What You Know and Exploding a Few Myths

An interactive exercise for getting to the root of what makes difficult conversations difficult, and how most of us have learned to cope.

Module 2: Strategic Defense Reduction: Dealing With Triggers: Yours and Theirs

How to work with the reactions that surface during difficult conversations without fighting or fleeing.

Module 3: Five Step Model for Managing Difficult Conversations

An easy-to-learn model that provides a process that can be applied to any difficult conversation, no matter its content or the emotions involved.

Module 4: Skills Practice

Skills practice using powerful, realistic, short, self-paced case studies.

Module 5: Upping the Ante

Skills practice using more challenging examples including opportunities for participants to use their own situations.

Module 6: Individual Next Steps

Quick, specific action planning and follow-up steps

Program Details

Participants: Participants can include managers, supervisors and team leads.

Session Length: One half-day session. Can be extended to 6 hour or full day module. IT, Customer Service, Project Manager versions available

Locations: Certified trainers available on the West Coast, in New York, Florida, Boston and Atlanta Region

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Flower and nature photography courtesy Mark Hussein (C) 2009   www.markhusseinphotography.com