By Lynn Scott, Featured Contributor


Your heart’s racing, your stomach’s churning……yes, it’s a ‘tough conversation’ that you’re really dreading (and, be honest, have probably been avoiding for a while). Have you ever dodged the issue, backed down, waffled around the subject, gone in with all guns blazing, felt like a rabbit in the headlights – some or all of the above?  Me too!

meeting-talking-tableEven thinking about a challenging conversation can trigger our fight, flight or freeze response. So, often, we do nothing… hope it’ll go away…. Tell ourselves we’ll tackle it when we are ‘less busy’. When in fact we know that avoidance leads to even worse problems in the long run.

So where to start? One of my mantras is ‘Just take the first step’ So here’s the FIRST step to having that Conversation – KNOW YOURSELF. Identify what it is that makes the conversation difficult for YOU.

  • Do you want to be liked or to avoid conflict? (I’m a ‘nice person’)
  • Don’t trust yourself to manage your emotional state?
  • Don’t know the ‘right’ words?
  • Don’t want to rock the boat?

So grab a piece of paper and make a start: ‘I’m avoiding this conversation because…..’ Then identify any key themes or patterns that strike you

This exercise is key – it helps us to understand our beliefs about ourselves and others; our mindset (Growth or Fixed?) and the unhelpful scripts that we are using about ourselves or others.

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Lynn Scott
LYNN Scott writes pragmatic, actionable, no BS tips for busy leaders. Leadership doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s not about fads, theories, models and ‘inspirational quotes.’ It’s about knowing yourself and others at a deeper level; focusing on the right things; taking one step at a time and having a really clear purpose that ignites the fire in others. Plus, of course having the best possible team in place. (Ditch those energy vampires now). Lynn is an Executive Coach working with high achieving, committed men and women and their teams who are ready for their next level of success. She particularly loves seeing technical experts become focused, confident, pro-active leaders. She previously built and led global teams for a UK PLC and learned as much from her leadership mistakes as her successes. She’s a Brit based in the South of France with husband Brian and Border Collie Poppy.
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Jane Anderson

This is a sensible and workable first step. Definitely a productive and beneficial exercise. Thank you, Lynn, for taking the time to post your thoughts.