skip to Main Content

How to have objective conversations

One of my coaching clients called me in a panic. She needed help preparing for a very important meeting with her Managing Director, the person her boss reports to.

Along with the other VPs in her department, they decided to stop a certain process that was causing friction on their team.

The Managing Director disagreed with their decision. He gave them one week to reinstate the process. 

My client was panicking for several reasons. 

Firstly, she felt like she would look like a fool if she had to tell her team that the “big boss” usurped her decision. Secondly, she felt disempowered because the Managing Director commanded that she reinstate the process without asking for context and without understanding the reason for this decision or the impact on her people. 

When dealing with these challenging conversations at work, please don’t panic. Rather, strip away all the emotions like fear and anger and stick to the facts. 

Here is a four-step process that you can use to objectively prepare for any difficult conversation.

  1. Find a common goal: Determine the business goal driving this decision.
  2. Prepare the data: Draft a list of all the data you have collected to explain the context before your decision, why you made the decision and the positive impact of the decision.
  3. Articulate the key issues: Be prepared to explain what issues will arise if an alternative decisions or implemented actions.
  4. Recommended a solution: Be ready with several solutions to the problem so that you are not viewed as being insubordinate but rather seen as a strategic partner in the business. 

After our meeting, my client understood that planning for this conversation was extremely important.

She also realized she needed to address the issues with facts rather than fury! 

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

Back To Top