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Mastering Powerful Conversations in a Fast-Changing World

A 2 day intensive skill based programme to help you engage and excel in powerful conversations in your organisation.

20-21 Oct 2021

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Programme Introduction

“I want everyone to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job!” - Samuel Goldwyn

Covid-19, climate change, digitisation and fast emerging technologies such as AI, Big Data and Robotics are challenging leaders and businesses like never before. Even with the optimism of the vaccines overcoming the current pandemic, many industries will continue to face an accelerating rate of change. Dealing with these challenges requires listening at all levels of any organisation. If enterprises are to prosper they need to innovate and adapt like never before. To do this leaders and managers will need to rise to the challenge by accessing the views, ideas and creativity of all their people.

Yet we know that many organisations struggle with the concept of powerful conversations. Often there is a fear of negative consequences. It might be the behaviour of a dominant leader that results in us not speaking our truth. Or a belief that our corporate culture doesn’t welcome people speaking freely and openly. A heavy investment in a particular approach or strategy, can also mean that any “challenge” is interpreted as being critical or negative. When these behaviours and norms take a hold they often result in a “collusion of mediocrity” and an “acceptance of the ordinary.” Difficult questions and issues are never discussed and creative, innovative ideas are stifled or suppressed. Such cultures can ultimately derail relationships, teams and entire organisations. In contrast, when powerful conversations are incorporated into daily behaviours and practices, they have the potential to harness the truth and creativity of all employees and can lead to major breakthroughs in any number of key performance areas.

Given the challenge of a fast-changing world and the need to constantly re-design and re-invent customer value offers, leaders must excel at developing forums and cultures that enable powerful conversations to occur. Our new and high impact programme provides you with the perspectives and skills to cultivate and engage in such conversations. Using an embodied leadership approach, our programme will help you understand how and why you react instinctively in particular ways to challenging conversations.

If we understand our fundamental drivers and blockers we are better able to exercise more choices, particularly when operating at times of stress or potential conflict. The programme also helps participants understand their colleagues’ responses to challenging conversations. Equipped with this new knowledge and skills, you will be able to enable more powerful conversations within your own team and organisation.

By attending this programme you will:

  • IDENTIFY your personal drivers and those of your team to help you promote and communicate more effectively in powerful or challenging conversations
  • DEVELOP new skills and techniques to handle with confidence “difficult” people and conflict situations
  • EXPLORE strategies for dealing with powerful or difficult conversations in a positive and highly productive manner
  • IMPROVE your skills in influencing and persuading others during powerful conversations

At the end of the programme you will be able to:

  • Speak your truth with greater influence and impact
  • Speak your truth in challenging or uncomfortable situations
  • Be more resilient and make better choices in moments of stress
  • Listen to others without prejudice or reaction
  • Better “connect” and become more inclusive with others
  • Develop greater levels of trust and collaboration
  • Create stronger synergies with others’ ideas
  • Become more centred and able to respond in the moment
  • Enhance your team’s creativity and innovation

Who should attend?

The aim of the programme is to support those seeking to facilitate their team and organisation to higher levels of capability and performance through increasing levels of engagement, creativity and innovation. The approach will benefit any leader, manager or professional who wants to cultivate more “powerful conversations” in their organisation.


Setting the context for powerful conversations

  • Rationale for powerful conversations in a fast-changing world – Covid, Climate Change, Digitisation, AI, Big Data, Robotics
  • The business case – need for re-invention, creativity, innovation, purpose and truth
  • The real costs of “collusions of mediocrity”
  • Powerful conversations - calibrating your team and organization culture
  • The importance of leadership in setting the tone – “a fish rots from the head!”

Creating a 'safe space' for powerful conversations

  • What is a “safe space” and how to enable it as a leader
  • Applying improvisation principles: letting go, noticing more, accepting and building on others’ offers and ideas, making others look good and using everything as a gift!
  • Powerful conversations & the trust equation
  • Experiencing trust - barriers to developing trust
  • How to develop trust in my work relationships
  • My Personal Brand – My Trust Equity

Understanding my behavioural patterns during powerful conversations

  • Understanding how my physiology and stress response become my behaviours
  • The IQ to EQ to PQ journey
  • What is my current level of effectiveness in powerful conversations?
  • What prevents my conversations from being powerful?
  • Understanding my personal drivers and beliefs - how they shape my responses to powerful conversations
  • What are my connection strategies when communicating with others?
  • How “present” am I in my conversations and meetings?
  • Recognizing the choices I am making when dealing with others
  • How to get my ideas and proposals across – what works best for me?
  • Developing and practicing new strategies - assessing their benefits

Understanding what enables or blocks others

  • Understanding:
    • what drives, motivates and influences other people in powerful or difficult conversations
    • the impact of others’ behaviours on my level of engagement, involvement and inclusivity
  • How my behaviour impacts others
  • Using my senses to empathise with others – seeing the world as others feel and see it
  • Using my physiological antennae and senses for greater influence when interacting with others.

Dealing with 'difficult people' in powerful conversations

  • The classic roles people can play in Collusions of Mediocrity: the Alpha leader, The Critic, The Silent Type, The Whistle Blower, The Liar, The Devil’s Advocate, The Clown, The Crawler, The Delusional, The Destroyer, The Guilt Tripper, The Blamer, The Iceberg,
  • Applying strategies to challenge “Collusions of Mediocrity”
  • Learning to listen without prejudice or reaction
  • Handling difficult situations and dealing with strong emotions: Anger, frustration, criticism, sadness, fear, withdrawal.

Strategies for speaking my truth in powerful conversations

  • Recognising my passion(s) and learning how to connect to them
  • Looking and sounding more confident – reviewing my level of congruence when communicating in meetings
  • Strategies to improve my level of congruence and project real authenticity
  • Widening my level of attention and enabling creativity into my team and organization’s conversations.

Strategies to empower my team to have powerful conversations

  • Creating a safe team space
  • Developing flexibility and adaptability to accept what is in front of me as a leader
  • Practicing the use of metaphors and imagery to facilitate powerful conversations
  • Generating more creative and innovative team conversations by utilising activities that enable your team to diverge to more productive spaces
  • Applying the power of feedback in powerful conversations (giving and receiving) and using feedback from others to develop your Action Plan.

Coaching on my powerful conversations

  • Working on your ‘powerful conversation(s)” or challenging/difficult’ people scenarios
  • The problem topic or theme - applying my learning
  • Situation analysis and skills practice
  • The problem boss, individual(s) or team
  • Coaching and peer feedback reviews.

Pulling it all together

  • Programme summary and review
  • What I have learnt about myself and others
  • Recognising my Authentic Voice - Feedback consolidation
  • Actions for my future powerful conversations
  • Making it happen – key new behaviours for my Powerful Conversations.


Mark Thomas (More...)

Mark Thomas is a global business consultant, author and speaker specializing in leadership, organisation development and human resource management. An enthusiastic student of organisations, Mark’s consulting work has taken him around the globe to cities such as, Istanbul, Luanda, Moscow, New York, Reykjavik, Sydney & Tokyo. Having observed many “hyped” organisational initiatives and fads come and go, Mark is fascinated by how organisations function and operate.

A passionate advocate of organisations that enable individuals to connect and flourish through value creation, Mark is a founding member of the Powerful Conversations Group and a Partner of the Future Work Forum.

Following a successful career with NCR, Unigate and Price Waterhouse Management Consultants, Mark founded Performance Dynamics, a development consultancy that has worked with global clients including: Barclays Capital, Cargill, C&A, DFDS DHL, Engie, Ferguson, gategroup, Hitachi, HSBC, IKEA, KNPC, Microsoft, Pandora, Pfizer, Red Bull, Rexam, Stibo Systems, Sony, Tata Steel, Time Warner, UBS and Unilever.

Mark regularly designs and facilitates a wide range of business planning and organisation change initiatives. In addition, he manages several executive development & leadership, programmes including coaching and internal consulting and business partnering.

Based in Monmouth, Wales, Mark has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the Tias School for Business and Society in Holland and consulted with organisations such as the American Management Association (AMA), Management Centre Europe (MCE) and the Middle East Management Centre.

As a Welshman, Mark is genetically predisposed to follow Welsh rugby and is a keen motorcyclist and jazz fan.

Book now

Book now

20-21 Oct 2021
Live webinar
20-21 Oct 2021
Live webinar
GBP 999 799
EUR 1,439 1,159
USD 1,630 1,318
Until 8 Sep*
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Continuing professional development

This course qualifies for 12 hours for your CPD records.
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