Why we avoid difficult conversations

The most common challenges that we see in teams and organizations is the avoidance of difficult conversations.

The top reasons people avoid difficult conversations:

#1.  They are afraid they might open a big “can of worms”

#2.  They think that what they’re going to say might hurt someone

#3.  They don’t believe saying anything is going to make a difference

#4.  They think based upon the history with this person nothing will change

#5.  They are afraid of the emotions will come up

Here’s the five Coaching perspectives we take about those reasons:

#1.  True you may open some sort of can of worms, but remember ignoring problems generally don’t make them go away.  In fact there’s that old saying that when it gets buried, it’s going to cause an even bigger crater when it blows up!

#2.  You can’t control how someone else feels about what you’re going to say.  What you can control is how you say it like with some compassion and thoughtfulness.  Sometimes people do get a little bit hurt by what we have to say but we still need to say it and solve our problems and differences.  Not doing so usually causes bigger problems like people leaving the relationship (or organization).

#3.  Again, if you spend a little time and learn how to deliver hard messages that may actually impact whether your message is going to make a difference.  Secondly, one of the most common sources of frustration is the stuff we hold back and don’t communicate about.  So even if it’s not going to make a difference there is still value in getting it off your chest (remember when you do it correctly!)

#4.  You never know when one more hit of the hammer is going to knock down the whole wall.  Don’t give up on people and don’t ever stop saying what you need to say.  You can’t predict based upon people’s moods, emotions, and current life situation, when one of the things you’re going to say is going to finally make a difference.

#5.  Emotions do come up and quite honestly shouldn’t be avoided.  They don’t have to be all messy and uncontrollable.  Emotions are real and something we have to deal with.  Once dealt with it can make all the difference in the world.  Don’t forget a little emotional intelligence coaching wouldn’t hurt now and then either.

If all else fails, why don’t you let us do one of our Difficult Conversations Coaching Workouts led by Master Certified Coach, Pete Walsh.