Courageous Conversations -> Cultural Change

Most organisations we speak to can readily identify with the vision for a Company where the managers and leaders are having effective 'Courageous Conversations' when needed.


One particular Public Sector organisation knew that it wanted to transform itself into an operation that was:

  • More productive, proactive & successful
  • Quick and effective at making decisions
  • Known for the positive action that its Managers & HR staff had taken 
  • Open to feedback, honest & where integrity & Trust where demonstrated
  • Free from office politice and demonstrating a 'no blame culture'


Working with this organisation, we helped them to identify the 'Courageous Conversations' which managers were either avoiding or were not handling well and considered the impact this was having'. We then designed a development programme that included a Workshop, and follow on activities to embed the learning, that would really make a difference and build the skills and confidence that the managers needed. 


The aim


We agreed some specific outcomes for the workshop as follows:

  • Reflect on current approaches and identify what gets in the way of 'Courageous Conversations' currently
  • Explore the advantages of being more proactive in this area and the benefit to the organisation and the staff;
  • Come away confident to tackle conversations that people perceive to be difficult and have tended to put off;
  • Develop the ability to carry out these conversations skillfully; 
  • Identify a plan to tackle at least one current situation which could lead to significant benefits for the organisation
  • Take away a toolkit to manage future courageous conversations

The workshop


After some initial work which ensured that the delegates could clearly see the benefits of having these difficult conversations and doing it well, we used actors to show a typical scenario to which the delegates would relate and in 3 stages demonstrated :


  1. The conversation - where the real issues were skirted over or avoided
  2. The conversation - where the manager over reacted 
  3. A model 'Courageous Conversation'.


The delegates were encouraged to reflect on what they'd observed and to recognise their own patterns of behaviour before having the opportunity to prepare for, and try out, a courageous conversation of their own.


Follow up


The delegates went away buzzing with good intentions and feeling confident that they could now address some issues which they had previously felt uncomfortable about.  We provided additional one-to-one coaching support for those delegates with particularly challenging issues to address, and in a follow up session in which the group shared and learned from each other's experiences. 

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