The Bold Conversation—3 Steps to a Successful Outcome

Your comfort zoneSucceeding in a senior leadership position doesn’t happen without the ability to embrace and successfully navigate bold conversations. But that doesn’t mean these conversations are easy. In our executive coaching practice, a common request is to be coached on an upcoming bold conversation.

Reasons for bold conversations can vary widely. You’re in a relationship that is getting in the way of your success. You want to position yourself for a promotion or a raise. You and your manager have a difference of opinion about the strategic direction of the company. You get the idea.

Do you have a bold conversation in your future? Here are three steps we recommend to increase your chances of success.

  • Prepare. Make sure you’ve done your homework. Do you have all of the information you need? Have you identified and considered the style of the person you will be talking to? Is the person results oriented or people oriented? What questions and concerns might the other person have? What points must be covered? What outcomes are possible and desired?
  • Practice. Enlist a coach or a trusted friend so that you can actually speak what needs to be shared, and get their feedback. Pay particular attention to the opening of the conversation. Often a coach or friend doesn’t need to say anything because the executive will notice on their own what worked and what didn’t sound right. Practice builds confidence going into the conversation.
  • Deliver with Passion. This is where the work of preparing and practicing comes to fruition. Enter the conversation with intention and know that you are putting your best foot forward.

Practice Leads to a Positive Outcome

Having a “bold conversation” is not something leaders do on the fly—it’s something they prepare for, practice, and deliver with passion. These three steps can be learned. The outcome of a bold conversation can’t be guaranteed, but with careful preparation you can be confident you have the highest possibility for a positive outcome. Go for it!

About the Author

Joni Wickline is Vice President, Professional Services with The Ken Blanchard Companies. You can read Wickline’s posts as a part of Coaching Tuesday here at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.

5 thoughts on “The Bold Conversation—3 Steps to a Successful Outcome

  1. Pingback: The Daring Dialog—three Steps to a Profitable Consequence | Posts

  2. Too often I think leaders rely on their instincts in conversations like this. But instincts can change based on how your year is going. I like the concept of carefully considering the person you are speaking with, and practicing with a friend or colleague. I would make room for “humility” in the publication, though. Whether speaking with a superior or a subordinate, it is always wise to remain humble in the conversation.

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