Honest conversations

Recognising the value of, and practising, clear and open communication at all levels is the first step to improving performance, whether at an individual, team, management, leadership or organisational level.

We all know this, but why is it so difficult? This unique programme will make it much, much easier for you by giving you a robust framework to use – and the opportunity to practise your skills in a safe, supportive environment. It will help you have conversations that deliver tangible results.

Learning objectives

This programme will help participants:

  • Overcome the barriers to effective performance conversations
  • Handle feedback conversations effectively
  • Improve working relationships with colleagues, those they report to and those who report to them
  • Set realistic expectations and targets (and get ‘buy-in’ for them)
  • Improve their communication style
  • Plan and prepare for honest conversations in the workplace

Managers (at all levels), team leaders and supervisors have all benefited from this tried-and-tested programme.


This one-day workshop focuses on creating awareness, developing attitudes and beliefs and embedding newly acquired skills and behaviours as habits. It is highly interactive, very powerful – and great fun!

Special feature

For added value, participants should bring their own targets and role description (and / or those of the people who report to them) for use in the exercises.

Expert trainer

This programme was designed and is usually delivered by Cyrus Cooper, our lead trainer in this area. See his profile here.


See what participants have said about Cyrus’s ‘Honest conversations’ workshops:

‘Enthusiastic and knowledgeable.’

‘Useful and makes you think about things that feel obvious but you don’t always think about.’

‘Very knowledgeable. Very energetic. Creative and friendly learning atmosphere.’

‘Good presenter and kept things running nicely.’

‘Helps you understand the tools and techniques to manage conversations and relationships at all levels.’

‘Helpful, gave you confidence to have conversations where you might not before.’

‘Gives you confidence in how to deal with tricky situations and a belief in yourself.’

‘Gets you thinking about different scenarios and your management style.’

‘Very friendly, approachable and helpful, thank you!’

‘Good forum for sharing situations. Good balance of discussions and exercises.’

‘Useful session – have taken some great tools away with me that I will apply with my team.’

‘Clear and assertive – demonstrating some of the skills and attributes you need to have honest conversations.’

‘Energetic and knowledgeable!’

‘Positive but honest!’

Honest conversations workshop outline

1 Welcome and introduction
  • What is an ‘honest conversation’?
  • Why don’t we have them more often? What stops us?
  • The cost of not having them


2 The feedback conversation
  • A 5-step model for giving feedback
  • Viewing feedback as a ‘gift’
  • Exercise: Giving performance related feedback, using your real scenarios
  • Dealing with the impact of feedback conversations
  • 5 different styles of feedback ­– impact and when to use
  • Exercise: Giving feedback in different styles
  • Preparing for conflict


3 Effective working relationships
  • Why we need others
  • Developing your personal network
  • Exercise: What does a good performance conversation look like?
  • Key success factors
  • Overcoming the most common barriers


4 The expectations conversation
  • Using ‘role profiling’ to set clear expectations
  • How to set and agree expectations as part of a conversation
  • Exercise: A real ‘conversation’ to challenge and question the expectations of a role


5 The targets conversation
  • The ‘target cascade’ model – how targets are cascaded through an organisation to ensure they are properly aligned
  • Importance of setting goals/targets which are specific, measurable and personally controllable
  • How to use ‘SMART’ questions
  • Exercise: Identify a non-SMART target and then have a ‘conversation’ to review and challenge the target using the SMART questions


6 Your communication styles
  • What effective communicators do
  • How do you know you have been heard?
  • Transactional analysis
  • The iceberg model
  • Exercise: Active listening


7 Planning and preparing for an honest conversation
  • Honest conversations checklist
  • Exercise: Prepare and plan for a genuine honest conversation back in the workplace using perceptual positioning


Download workshop outline here.

For a no-obligation discussion about running this workshop for your organisation please just give us a call on 01582 714280.