CALA News & Views | Issue 41 | Resilience

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 0 , V O L U M E 1 8 “Isn’t there someone else that can conduct this conversation in my place?” “I DO NOT want to have this conversation today.” Very few people wake up in the morning, stretch out and say “I can’t wait to have this uncomfortable conversation with my colleague, boss, vendor, resident, or family member.” It’s just not done; most humans are wired to avoid discomfort, uncomfortable situations, and the delivery of difficult information. However, when we skirt these situations, fail to conduct the challenging conversation, and allow unaddressed issues to fester, we do so to the detriment of everyone around us, including ourselves. We simply trade short-term discomfort for long- term dysfunction and the impact on our staffs, residents, and communities can be quite costly and potentially unsafe. So as communities open up again to families, vendors, local officials, new employees and residents, how can we prepare ourselves to navigate conversations about challenging subjects in a successful and productive manner? We start by first adapting our mindset. One of the tools professional leadership coaches employ is the “Coaching Mindset”—an understanding that what is shown and what is seen is not always the whole picture. Imagine an iceberg for a moment. The top that you see might not look that massive; the bottom, which you don’t see, can reach to depths you might not be able to navigate around. As you consider that image, the top half of the iceberg depicts the “presenting issue” that needs to be discussed and addressed. The bottom half of the image represents the various reasons, circumstances, and sources of existing conflict, of which you might be unaware. Therefore, part of having a Coaching Mindset is about entering the conversation aware, accounting for, and recognizing that you might run into the bottom of the iceberg as you begin to conduct the conversation. Just keeping this concept in mind gives you the confidence to brace for impact if something “unseen” comes your way during the conversation. This mindset also allows you to explore circumstances and solutions from a place of curiosity, seeking to understand and partner, rather than direct and dictate. Now that your Coaching Mindset is in place and you’re aware you might learn something you haven’t anticipated, you’re ready to begin the conversation with confidence. All you lack now is a plan. Here are 7 tips to help you successfully conduct challenging conversations with a plan in place. C L I F O N I A A S S I S T E D L I V I N G A S S O C I A T I O N

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