Courageous Conversations

It's interesting that when you start coming up with topics for a blog, you start noticing trends that are coming up in your life.  The trend that has come up for me recently is "Courageous Conversations".  I've had to initiate them and I've coached a few people on them recently.  

What is a courageous conversation?  It's when you need to build up the courage to tell another person something that they may not want to hear. It always takes place because you are concerned about continuing a business relationship with them, but before you can continue, you need to tell them about something that is not sitting well with you.    It could be feedback you've received about their work or something they said or did that is bothering you.  Whatever the reason or need for the courageous conversation, it's likely that you'll want to put it off or hide behind a text or email.  

Here are my suggestions for conducting an effective courageous conversation:

  1. Set up a time that is mutually convenient, preferably in person.  If in person is not possible, then a phone call is okay, not great, but okay.  Text or email is just not a good choice for a courageous conversation.
  2. Bring up the topic or incident you want to discuss.
  3. Your goal is to build the relationship, not destroy it, so make sure you start with something true and complimentary, not phony.  You could use "I really enjoying partnering with you" or "I just love your work".
  4. Focus on telling them facts. Stay away from judging comments, such as "you should". Here is a great starting line... "When you (said/did this) it made me feel...." or "I have some feedback that I want to share with you".
  5. Stop talking.  Let them respond.  Then listen, don't get defensive, just listen. 
  6. Focus on a solution that will work for both of you.   Be complimentary, compassionate and kind.  

Let me know how your next courageous conversation goes.  Don't avoid them.  They will help you grow and build deeper relationships.