How to have tough conversations with your customers


Customer spraying.
Ending a romantic relationship.
Troubleshoot personnel behavior problems.
Challenge of the racial relative at family dinner.
Talking about finances and debt.

The above are just a few examples of difficult debates we face in life. For the purposes of this article, we will focus only on difficult conversations from the client-coach perspective and how they can affect our work and business. However, improving the working difficulties of the talks will certainly have a positive impact on your personal facets. Win-win!

What is a difficult discussion?

We can determine difficult discussion as an oral exchange in which we expect many negative reactions – such as resistance, feelings of harm, anger or hostility – by our counterparts.

Tough discussions are painted with a brush of great emotions, usually motivated by strong opinions, established values ​​and other basic beliefs. This is precisely the reason why navigating difficult conversations can be so difficult: they touch deep personal strings and thus have the ability to threaten or be a source of shame.

In the book Basic conversations, writers Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler define these interactions with three determinants:

  1. Opinions vary
  2. The bets are high
  3. Feelings are strong

Why are the tough conversations so terrifying?

Tough conversations make most of us tremble because of the perceived danger they imply: almost no one loves the thought of entering the proverbial arena and fighting the lion.

In our lives, the lion may be the resistance of our client to admit that his consumption prevents his weight loss or anger when he is informed that a comment he has made is inappropriate and will not be tolerated. The process is the same: we are afraid of the conflict.

Our straightforward system can blame for this fear. The system boundary has been compiled as ours brain goat for its primary focus on the simplistic, but essential, basic needs of life: survival, food and reproduction.

In particular, our amygdala is responsible for emotion, addiction, mood and many other mental and emotional processes. Here is where our fight, flight or the freezing response kicks at first glance a perceived threat.

Enter difficult talks and why we sabotage them, keep them behind and avoid them at all costs:

What if I'm crazy?
What if they cry?
What if I do not like to bring it?
Will they leave anger?

All of the above are considered threats. Amygdala overdrive! Thank you, you happy brain. Now take a seat.

Difficult Conversations: New Perspective

Here is a healthy dose of reality: difficult discussions can not be avoided forever. If you need to accelerate and carry on, why not do it gracefully and in a way that is beneficial to all parties involved?

Tough talk is his backbone all relations.

If you get skilled in difficult conversations, it will make you a better coach, boss, partner and parent, is not it worthwhile and trying to conquer the skill? We definitely think so!

Confrontation must not be the same

Perhaps it is the most liberating prospect: the confrontation must not be tantamount to conflict.

We can deal with things that disturb us without the debate ending in a fight. We can deal with pain points without disturbing our counterparts. We can communicate effectively and with respect, in a way that lets all parties listen.

As soon as we realize that difficult conversations can be a driving force for positive change, we are more willing to persuade and have these conversations – in the right direction. There is much that can be gained from this practice.

Who knows, you might end up being one of these unique people really enjoy and diving right tough conversations! Hi, it happened to this writer. it could happen to you too!

Success in a difficult discussion

The success of a difficult conversation can be achieved by taking into account the following indicators:

Avoid Speaking in Absolutes

Words like never, always, every time, everything, and nothing are rarely true and quickly undermine the quality of the conversation. They can force your client to become a defensive player and focus on enumerating the times that they have actually complied – hardly the result you want.

  • Instead "You never follow my recommendations" try "Sometimes my recommendations are not followed and I wonder what changes we can make to improve your commitment."
  • Instead "Every time I ask for your food magazine, you have an excuse, try "I have noticed that recording your food magazine was difficult and I would like to help facilitate this process."
  • Instead "Drink always during the week" try "I believe that consumption has remained a challenge and I would like to explore how we can improve this for the benefit of your goals."

Approach the conversation with curiosity and open mind

If you operate from the point of view of the will to be "right", you have already prepared yourself for failure. The goal of problem solving instead of correct and wrong dynamics. Stay receptive to what the other person has to say. Information can be changed that changes what you think is true, and you can only discover it when you are open.

  • Instead "This is the way it should be," try "I would like to hear your speech: how do you think we should do this?"
  • Instead "If you want to achieve your goals, that's what needs to be done" try "I want to hear your thoughts: what do you think should happen next to your goal?"

To be clear, what should happen to your client to achieve his goal may not change. But, asking for their input, you included them in the chat and problem solving process instead of simply dictating orders.

Take ownership of your feelings

No one can make you feel any way – these feelings belong to you. Taking ownership of our feelings avoids falling into the game of responsibility – a positive step for effective communication.

Instead "It makes me feel upset when you make comments during the class," try "I feel upset when you make this comment because it reflects me for lack of respect for others".

Useful examples of ways to frame your point of view without accusing or accusing others can be heard like:

  • "To me…"
  • "In my opinion …"
  • "It is my opinion that …"
  • "I think so…"
  • "I may be wrong, but the way I see it …"

Ultimately, we can never really know what the other person thinks or feels and that their intentions can be very different from what we think they are.

Coming to terms

In the most successful difficult talks, agreement is reached. Both sides feel they can keep and the deal looks fair and balanced in both.

"We tried to stick to our diet plan for a month, and that did not work completely." What do you think would be a reasonable time frame to try instead? "Two weeks – one week?"

"I think we both have done a very good job, but we do not seem to be fit for each other." I would recommend some colleagues in the area who would like to work with you.

in conclusion

Tough conversations have an amazing opportunity to help us grow beyond our comfort zone and learn beyond our constraints. One of the most serious mistakes we can make is to postpone difficult talks, as problems tend to fade and worsen as long as we procrastinate.

Tilting in tough conversations is an act of empowerment.

By making the decision to cope with the challenge you have, you activate yourself to act responsibly, ripe, honestly and with respect – as opposed to avoidance, impatience and reaction. Talk about a change in dynamics!


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