A Mediator Explains How to Have Difficult Conversations

Adar Cohen knows how to have difficult conversations and he wants you to be able to exercise the same skill when you need it. By mediating for corporations, politicians, and families Adar has figured out the commonalities between all these different levels of disagreements. They all share the same characteristics when viewed by somebody in the situation itself: it’s hard to confront the other and it’s easy to ‘blow up’ when those involved actually have a confrontation.

It’s common for people to avoid conflict, but avoiding it tends to create more of it. Approaching an awkward, upsetting or long-avoided conversation isn’t easy, but it can be done effectively. Whether it’s a relationship within your family, at work or in your community, you can have a difficult conversation successfully without the help of a third party.

There are three potential outcomes of a difficult conversation: a full-blown solution (tempting, but unrealistic), a plan (a map for finding a solution) or an understanding (which establishes a new awareness of how the other has experienced the conflict, and lays a reliable foundation upon which a plan and solution can be sought). In attempting a difficult conversation without a mediator, I recommend first seeking an understanding.

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