Chinook Learning Services - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Difficult Conversations

Course Description

’We need to talk’.... Develop the tools needed to approach challenging conversations with a higher level of skill and confidence. Understand your current conflict style and learn about handling emotional energy. Explore the preparation and structure needed for creating safety, trust and awareness leading to improved communication, understanding and solution-building.

Participant Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify problems and perspectives that lead to difficult conversations
  • Evaluate your personal conflict management / conflict resolution style
  • Assess strategies for working with people whose conflict styles are different from your own
  • Distinguish actions to take in preparation for a difficult conversation
  • Demonstrate a level of competency in communicating in difficult conversations by outlining your personal, practical preparation for and responses to real-life situations
  • Lessen anxiety related to difficult conversations

Course Content

Component 1: Overview

  • Identify best and worst possible outcomes
  • Examine possible reactions
  • Recognize essential Do’s and Don’ts related to difficult conversations
  • Identify the 3 most common situations underlying difficult conversations

Component 2: Getting Started - Making it Real

  • Identify personal real-life situations
  • Identify common responses
  • Pinpoint communication challenges
  • Select specific personal scenarios to examine in Case Studies

Component 3: Preparing for Difficult Conversations

  • Identify potential and personal triggers and challenging behaviours
  • Complete a checklist of points to examine prior to entering into a difficult conversation

Component 4: Communication Styles

  • Identify communication and conflict management styles
  • Evaluate one’s personal communication and conflict resolution style
  • Examine strategies for working with people whose conflict styles are different from one’s own.

Component 5: The Process, The Plan

  • Preparation: Centering / Grounding
  • Opening the conversation
  • Inquiry / Fact finding
  • Listening / Acknowledgment
  • Support / Providing feedback
  • Problem-solving

Component 6: Case Studies

  • Complete exercises and worksheets to demonstrate an ability to implement personal communication strategies directly related to real-life scenarios.
  • Small-group discussions to illustrate competency and elicit feedback with regards to one’s ability to effectively navigate through the emotional environment and experience of personal, difficult conversations.

Component 7: Tips and Suggestions

  • Potential stress reducers
  • Handling reactions
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