Honest conversations

Honest conversations – overview

It’s good to talk!

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.

Full details below or download course outline.

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
Who should attend?

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

Course format

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 features

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

Cyrus Cooper (Managing Director of Maximum Performance) is an exceptional trainer, facilitator and coach. He specialises in helping managers to focus on their role and responsibilities with the aim of getting great results with the people they manage. He has helped organisations in both the public and private sectors to increase their performance through a range of interventions covering leadership challenges, motivational management and corporate and executive 1:1 coaching. Formerly an internal learning and development consultant to the Ministry of Justice, his achievements there ranged from a major business process re-engineering (BPR) project to designing performance management systems and competency frameworks for over 12,000 staff and creating a range of management programmes for middle / senior civil servants that are still being run to this day.

Cyrus is passionate about coaching as well as training, and has recently developed an organisational-wide coaching programme for the Big Lottery Fund. He currently works with Thomson Reuters graduates on a global graduate scheme, delivering a week of self-discovery, supported by the FACET5 profiling tool. His other current / recent clients include the BBC, 3M, Accenture, Inter Hannover, Legoland, Merlin Entertainments, Mouchel, Phytopharm, Office of the Public Guardian, The Gap Partnership, Central Bedfordshire Council, Finsbury Foods, Lancashire Group, RED Consulting, Gala Coral, De Lage Landen, the Methodist Church, Shaw Trust and the Housing Solutions Group, to name but a few. Whether delivering a one-off workshop or designing an innovative management development programme, Cyrus delivers with understanding, enthusiasm and passion, and truly believes that learning is about creation, not consumption.

Cyrus’s academic and professional qualifications include a Masters Degree in Management Practice, MBTI accredited, SDI accredited, Facet5 accredited, DiSC accredited, Diploma in Executive and Corporate Coaching, Diploma in Business Coaching, Diploma in Business Excellence (EFQM), NVQ Assessor, etc. Cyrus is enthusiastic and practical in his approach, with tools and methodologies explained clearly. His strong facilitation skills and focus on his audience create a powerful learning experience and the response from individual participants is invariably appreciative, as the following comments show:

‘Cyrus was fab – as usual.’

‘Building a Customer Mentality’ course participant, Inter-Hannover

‘This session was exceptionally brilliant. The trainer drew me out of my shell.’

Graduate Development Workshop participant, Mouchel

‘Maximum Performance were engaged by Thomson Reuters to redesign our technology graduate development centre (the integral piece of the graduates’ two year training programme). Throughout the programme redesign, I found Maximum Performance to be extremely responsive, creative in their approach and also dedicated to building a bespoke solution for Thomson Reuters. The feedback from stakeholders and delegates has been very positive on the content delivered , the facilitator’s training style and Maximum Performance’s ability to hit the ground running, intimately understanding our needs.’

Khalil Ayub, Technology Graduate Scheme Manager, Thomson Reuters

‘We used Maximum Performance to design and deliver leadership skills for our people managers at LEGOLAND Windsor. We were pleased with the structured approach which provided a parallel process to our Team Leader training activities. Maximum Performance also helped incorporate some new training techniques we wanted to try such as Forum Theatre. Overall this part of the session was fun and energetic. It provided a powerful and memorable alternative to role play with excellent feedback from our managers.’

Head of Learning & Development, Legoland

‘I have had the pleasure of working with Maximum Performance (and Cyrus Cooper in particular) to deliver a coaching programme across the Big Lottery Fund. We co-constructed and piloted the programme to skill managers in the basics of coaching and create a programme of development for Senior Leaders to also build their coaching skills. What Cyrus delivered was a programme that impacted on us with a huge amount of insight, interest and invigoration around coaching as a key skill in our leaders, managers and talent programme participants. We are about to launch our own internal coaching network that will continue and spread the great work Cyrus did for us.’

Perry Timms, Head of Talent & Organisational Development, BIG Lottery Fund

Honest conversations – course outline

1 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