August seems to have us getting a tad “real” with our Thought Partner Friday topics. Maybe it’s the knowledge that summer is quickly ending and many of us will be getting young(er) folks off to school and back to the annual 9 month grind. Whatever the reason, we’ve got some serious topics to explore this month.

Let’s start today by posing a question.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being “it’s my favorite thing to do as a leader; I volunteer to conduct them!” and 1 being “I’d rather be banished to live out my days at a never-ending Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party for seven year olds.”) please rate yourself on the following:

  • How comfortable are you conducting challenging conversations?

I would venture a guess that most of you, if you were truly HONEST, would rate yourselves somewhere in the 4-6 range. (How’d I do?)

It’s no mystery that most of us have difficulty conducting challenging conversations; they’re not fun. They are often met with pushback and more often than not, the outcomes aren’t what we envision. 

Instead of conducting these difficult conversations, we avoid them. We compromise with ourselves as to why we don’t have to have them right now and we often give ourselves a pass for whatever reason we invent.


If you are a leader who’s avoiding the “tough talk”, you’re basically asking those around you to think less of your leadership. 

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of presenting Coaching to Conquer Challenging Conversations to over 300 virtual attendees at the 2021 CALA Summer Symposium. It was a great session and full of practical techniques on how best to successfully coach through these tough talks. 

From evaluations and feedback I received, one particular concept seemed to have struck a cord with those in attendance. Participants commented they had never thought about the true impact avoiding these conversations had on the view of their leadership, from those whose respect they desired. 

So throwing caution to the wind, I thought I would share the clip that resonated with those at the session. (As my own worst critic, I can’t stand to watch myself on video, but hopefully you can muddle through it.)

Have the conversation. Avoid falling to the lowest common denominator.

If you are interested in bringing this presentation, or others, to your organization, contact me and let’s discuss.