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Difficult Conversations & Stress Triggers

Snippets and tips from our recent Leadership Development workshops

Identifying Stress Triggers

As a consequence of the pandemic more and more people are finding themselves in highly emotional situations, sometimes it's hard to make sense of other people's emotions and our own. What triggered this? Why am I feeling like this? How can I de-escalate everyone? Social needs drive our comfort and (if compromised) can trigger high emotions. Considering your last highly emotional encounter, can you identify which of these social needs were compromised and led to tension?

Status feeling important in-line & relative to others Certainty feeling I can anticipate my future

Autonomy feeling I can make some of the decisions that affect me Relatedness feeling I belong & I’m in the ‘in crowd’ Fairness feeling that we’re all following the same set of rules The SCARF Model ®, source: David Rock, Neuro Leadership Institute Extract from our 3 hour workshop; Difficult Conversations: Managing High Emotions.


Tips for Fragile Workplace Conversations

  1. Despite what you think you ‘know’ about someone’s situation, remain open. Stress & Mental Health disorders are 'through the roof', and those are only the ones which people have identified and acknowledged.

  2. Take a ‘coaching approach’, stepping away from telling and moving towards asking incisive questions. Use ‘How’ and ‘What’ questions. Get an extensive list of question ideas by emailing us for free resources.

  3. Empower personal responsibility for action planning, engaging your colleague in identifying their own personal barriers and pathways forward.

  4. These conversations must be one-to-one.

  5. ‘Actively listen’, to support the other person to think. Silence is your power tool.

We ran over 100 Wellbeing Conversation Training Workshops for leadership teams in 2021. We design & deliver group workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions to support leaders and people managing change. We also researched and wrote a 30 page report and accompanying workshop on 'how to conduct return to workplace conversations', email us for more information on this or any of our other programmes.

Some of the projects we have delivered in Q1 2022:

  • Difficult Conversations: Managing High Emotions, for various organisations. De-escalate high emotions quickly, deal with conflict and abuse effectively. This workshop has been booked over 25 times already in 2022. Ideal for people working with the public or teams in conflict.

  • Wellbeing Conversation Training for leadership teams, our Award Winning 2021 workshop still has a lot of traction.

  • Facilitating Away Days; reconnection, celebration, reflection and planning. It’s great to feel the buzz of face-to-face again.

  • Various Leadership Coaching, one-to-one.

  • A series of 90 min HIT (high intensity training) bitesize senior leadership development sessions, focussing on psychological safety, beliefs, triggers and advanced communication.

  • Coaching Skills for Managers 4 day programme.

For more information, a brochure or a virtual demo, please email

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