Having a difficult conversation can be an uncomfortable experience that causes anxiety for even the most experienced managers. When properly carried out, however, what threatens to be an emotional confrontation can be a meaningful and constructive experience. It's up to the manager to turn a difficult encounter into a positive experience. However, this requires a good understanding of the methods that can be used to commence the conversation and keep it on track. This course explains the methods that can be used to have successful difficult conversations. These methods include sticking to an agenda, stimulating open dialogue, and connecting with the subject. It also explores how you can learn from the experience and share perspectives, find mutual understanding, and work with the subject to design an action plan.

Learning objectives

  • Sequence the steps needed to create progress in a difficult conversation
  • Recognise characteristics of the appropriate communication style for difficult conversations
  • Recognise examples of invitations to dialogue using strength-focused communication
  • Recognise the guidelines to follow to come to a mutual understanding of the situation that have been followed in a given scenario
  • Make progress in a difficult conversation under a given scenario


Management-level employees wanting to develop or refine their skills in delivering a difficult message to their direct reports, colleagues, or superiors

60 Minutes

365 Days