It’s Time to Have that Difficult Conversation

November 12th, 2013

On Twitter a few days ago Amber Nausland (@AmberCadabra) said “I swear so many issues are because we just won’t have the difficult 3867989_sconversation”. How true it is. Working with a client the same day we also solved a problem by having that difficult conversation and guess what, it didn’t turn out to be that difficult in the end!

As we all get older I think that we all realise that talking is nearly always the best way forward. Failure to talk is general the common denominator for virtually all of our business problems, mostly because ‘problems’ are usually people orientated.

Why is it, that having ‘the difficult conversation” is so hard? Do you remember the person at work with BO – and how long was it because no-one would broach the subject of soap?

Perhaps it’s because we don’t know how to approach it; we’re worried about how the other party will react. We would rather avoid the uncomfortable situation and hope the ‘problem’ goes away.

But, if you don’t have the conversation, how will the other party ever know that anything is wrong? And if they don’t know something is wrong then they will never be able to correct it. I’m yet to find anyone who is telepathic, so trying telepathic skills is a waste of time – it’s now time to talk.

Everyone will feel more comfortable once the conversation has been had – they may not like what has been said but at least everyone will be singing from the same hymn sheet to get the problem solved.

So think about What you are going to say to Who and How you are going to say it. When and Where are important too, but the critical one is Why you are having the conversation. Work through these 6 questions to help you make a difficult conversation a valuable conversation.


Shirley Mansfield is a highly experienced business coach and Master Problem Solver. With over 25 years’ experience, she founded CoachSME in 2011 to work with business owners to maximise growth, and she is still trying to reduce the 14 handicap! Keep up to date by following me on Twitter @coachsme