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This Month's Topic: Difficult Conversations
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Hello from the Coaching Team!   Handling Difficult Conversations
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Nine Common Mistakes in Difficult Conversations   Coach Introduction: Iris Hasenknopf
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View the upcoming coaching dates   Contact us!
Hello from the Coaching Team
Dear Students,

A few months ago, we had conflicts as our newsletter topic. Today, we are going to dive a little deeper into it. While there are many ways to handle conflicts, it is the conversation with the counterpart that many people feel uncomfortable with, which often makes them behave in an unproductive way, e.g. by getting too aggressive or too passive. Thus, this month's topic will be Difficult Conversations.

Not many people are experienced coaches. Thus, certain approaches can make us feel threatened and escalate a situation. In our Video of the Month, Lauren Mackler focuses on the point of view of the person receiving criticism, explaining how one can get control of a difficult conversation and deescalate it.

In our Article of the Month, we are going to look at the perspective of a person initiating a difficult conversation and Sarah Green Carmichael's advice on what to avoid.

We are also happy to present to you our coach, Iris Hasenknopf, an experienced Nursing Service Manager and Quality Representative, now in the nursing directorate, who has outstanding leadership experience and a keen eye for people's strengths and talents. She would be happy to help you discover yours!

In these newsletters, we publish content or info that we occasionally run into that we find inspiring, but actual coaching sessions can do so much more! Visit the coaching area on MyEBS to select a coach and book an appointment or contact us. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

Warm regards,
Your Coaching Team
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Video of the Month: Handling Difficult Conversations
Bestselling author and renowned coach, Lauren Mackler, is interviewed by Harvard Business School about how to handle difficult conversations. Lauren Mackler is one of the world's foremost experts in human behavior and leadership. She has risen to international prominence as the creator of Illumineering, a groundbreaking coaching method that helps people break free of their self-defeating patterns and create the lives to which they aspire.   Picture could not be loaded
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Nine Common Mistakes in Difficult Conversations
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When you work with people, it can happen quite often that you run into issues: it can be cultural differences, misunderstandings, someone not pulling their weight in a team, or many others. To resolve these issues, it is often necessary to address them as soon as possible, and the conversions that need to be had are often quite difficult. Sarah Green Carmichael has gathered nine common mistakes people make when having those conversations that you can avoid in the future.

#1 Falling into combat mentality

When falling into combat mentality, conversations quickly turn toxic and allow there to be a winner and a loser. When it comes to people you work with, there should never be a loser. “The real enemy is not your conversational counterpart, but the combat mentality itself. And you can defeat it, with strategy and skill.”

#2 Oversimplifying the problem

If there is an issue to talk about, chances are, it’s not a simple one. It is sometimes daunting to sum up multiple small issues into one large problem with just one cause. However, if the issue were simple, the conversation probably wouldn’t be difficult. For example, if someone is underperforming in your group, the underlying cause is often not that they are “just slacking”, but more underlying issues you might be able to address with an open mind.

#3 Not bringing enough respect to the conversation

A good way to avoid oversimplification is to respect people, including yourself. Respond in a way you can later be proud of. By respecting the people and the problem, you are unlikely to fall into combat mentality, even if your counterpart temporarily becomes hostile.

#4 Lashing our or shutting down

We tend to avoid unpleasant feelings. Unfortunately, difficult conversations cause many of those feelings. Some attempt to overcome them by acting more aggressively, others tend to quickly smooth things over, negating the conversation’s purpose. The tough emotions are normal. With practice, you can learn to focus on the outcome in spite of them.

#5 Reacting to thwarting ploys

Just because you are doing everything in your power to avoid the combat mentality does not mean your counterpart is doing the same.
  Shouting, crying, threatening or silence can cause you to either become too passive or too aggressive. Instead of imposing behavior or playing along, just address the ploy: “I don’t know how to interpret your silence.”

#6 Getting hooked

Everyone has a weak spot, and when someone finds ours, it may become significantly harder to stay out of the combat mentality. A weak spot can be tied to anything, like your job, your political views, or your personal life. Take the time to know your weak spots and what hooks you. This will help you stay in control.

#7 Rehearsing

When we know a conversation is going to be difficult, it seems natural to rehearse what we are going to say. Having a script in mind will hamper your ability to listen effectively and adopt a mindset of inquiry. However, you can define the basics, as in what the exact problem is, what your counterpart might think the problem is, what your preferred outcome would be, etc. You can also ask your counterpart to think about the same questions prior to the conversation.

#8 Making assumptions about the counterpart’s intentions

Optimists may assume that every disagreement is just a misunderstanding between two well-intentioned people, while pessimists may believe that there is always a “bad guy”. In difficult conversations, we often tend to forget that we cannot access anyone’s intentions but our own. If you get stuck, a handy phrase to remember is, “I’m realizing as we talk that I don’t fully understand how you see this problem.” Admitting that you don’t know something can be a very powerful way to get a conversation back on track.

#9 Losing sight of the goal

In order to not lose sight of the goal, make sure to go into the conversation with a clear, realistic preferred outcome. Remember that winning is not a realistic outcome, as that would imply your counterpart losing, which they very unlikely to accept in the first place. Going in with a mindset of inquiry while being aware of thwarting ploys will help you stay on track.

When someone catches us off-guard, we are more likely to fall back into old, ineffective habits, such as the combat mentality. “If you’re not the one initiating the tough conversation, or if a problem erupts out of nowhere, stick to these basics: keep your content clear, keep your tone neutral, and keep your phrasing temperate.” This way, when disagreements are prevalent, you will be more likely to navigate the conversation to a productive outcome.
Original article: https://hbr.org/2010/10/difficult-conversations-9-common-mistakes/
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Coach Introduction: Iris Hasenknopf
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As a passionate leader, Iris Hasenknopf enjoys to guide people to success and enable their strengths and talents. Thus, she believes the systemic coaching program at EBS and the experience of coaching students will help not only students achieve their goals, but also improve her systemic thinking as well as enable her to lead and support her employees better.

She has been a registered nurse since 1993. Since 2009, she has been working as a Nursing Service Manager as well as Quality Representative.
  Her career provided her with the opportunity to gain lots of leadership experience, eventually overseeing twelve nursing stations and four departments at the same time, which she considers one of the biggest challenges of her life.

In 2015, she graduated in Business Administration for Social Institutions, later moving to the nursing directorate in 2017. From her point of view, it was very positive and advantageous in terms of voice, design and structure.

Iris Hasenknopf is married and has a son. In her free time, she likes to go jogging and take part in half marathons.

She also enjoys discovering new things and believes that one should never stop learning and be open to looking at anything from a different perspective.

Iris Hasenknopf is offering coaching sessions in German. Contact us to book an appointment with her!
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28. & 29.06.2018

  Campus Wiesbaden




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  Marie-Luise Retzmann
Director Coaching

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Coaching & Personal
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Coordination Coaching &
+49 611 7102 1653
    Swantje Daniel
Coordination Coaching
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