Courageous conversations in communication


Published: 23 Jul 2018


Courage, corrective coaching and confidence – they are all linked together when you need to say something to someone and you have been putting it off!

What is a ‘courageous conversation’?

It’s a conversation you don’t want to have, are fearful of having or apprehensive at the least. When you are at the courageous conversation stage usually things have reached a tipping point of frustration or anxiety about a situation, and if you don’t deal with there are consequences or you have to live with your feelings about it.

Courageous conversations can become part of your everyday life if you work on the ‘see it, say it’© principle. They are life changing. You own your life if you get used to having courageous conversations.

A useful thing to do before you step in – for your own evolution is to figure out why it has been so difficult for you to engage with this person and step up?

What are your barriers? Fear of reprisals. Lack of knowledge about the situation.·  Your own passive behaviour patterns? Dominating personalities.· Fear of rejection. Past experiences?

Whatever the reason, here are some tried and tested tips to help you succeed this time with that courageous conversation.

  1. Start with the OBVIOUS – don’t waste time, energy, and money doing anything else. If there’s an obvious question then ask it.
  2. Don’t make assumptions. If you do you will nearly always be wrong. People are not always what or who they seem. What they look like, sound like. You could be basing your assumptions on your role models in life and pre-prejudices?
  3. If you ‘see it, say it’. If you see it and don’t say it then be prepared for the consequences or ripple effect. Which could include: loss of time, energy, money, credibility, reputation. You could also get bullied, coerced. And it could lead to passive aggressive behaviour which is completely unproductive.
  4. Choose compassion, look for the win –win and check your ego at the door. Do you want to be right or want to get it sorted?

What is ‘corrective coaching’?

It is CLEAR when emotions are high?

It never shifts the ‘blame’ for your decisions i.e. you don’t say, “Dave told me to tell you to do it.”

It doesn’t make excuses or justify why you are asking/telling them.

It puts emphasis on a ‘doing’/action word i.e. “Take the job card and clock on before each job please Kevin.”

Adding in their name at the end also adds additional emphasis.

Using directional body language also adds emphasis.

It is concise. Information delivered in its simplest form is easier to understand and not misconstrue.

The best way to consistently reinforce corrective coaching actions you require is to do it prior to it happening again,  instead of when it happens again. Be pro-active. Check understanding before you move on from an instruction in a way that does not require just a yes or no answer. Such as: “How are you going to tackle what we just agreed on Debbie?”


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