BOOK REVIEW: "Difficult Conversations" by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen


difficult-concersations-book"Difficult Conversations - How to discuss what matters most"
by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen

In business and life we often avoid difficult conversations. Have you ever avoided:

  • Asking for a hard-earned raise?
  • Confronting a family member or friend who has been undermining you?
  • Giving feedback to a touchy colleague?
  • Raising a difficult subject with our partner?

Is sweat trickling down your brow just thinking about it?

Conflict is inevitable.

And yet some people still try to avoid it - at all costs! The rest of us keep doing our best but struggle or wish it was easier.

Well, managing conflict is a skill - and everyone can get better at it, with knowledge and practice...

Difficult Conversations is quite an analytical book. But it's also solution-focused and gives plenty of examples to help us learn.

One thing I personally learned from "Difficult Conversations"

One of the most helpful things I learned from this book is that when people say something that negatively impacts how we see ourselves (our identity) our physical response is hardwired.

So, when someone says something about you - and you feel that "kick in the stomach" it's 1) an instantaneous response and 2) there's nothing you can do to stop it!

Knowing that I can't help but feel that response has been extremely helpful. Because now, when I feel that stomach lurch, I can take care of myself. I can say something to myself like, "Wow - that hurts! Deep breath." This recognition also allows me a little breathing space so I can respond to the situation - rather than reacting to the perceived slight. I can also say to myself, "Just because it feels horrible doesn't mean it's true. Deep breath - again!"

Who is this book for?

Whatever kind of coach you are - business, personal, spiritual, career, executive, youth or parent coach this book is essential reading!

"Difficult Conversations" gives you helpful tips to share with your clients, as well as being an excellent resource to recommend to them.

And, if you'd like to improve how you deal with conflict, then this book does double duty!

In Summary:

I thoroughly recommend this book. It's jam-packed with tips and information that raises our awareness both about the causes of conflict - and how to handle the difficult emotions that come with it. It's a great lowdown on the invaluable skill of managing conflict - grab a pen and paper to make notes!

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Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>


    • elelsey

      Thanks Lisa!

      I have posted my books on your website as comments to your post!

      Warmly, EL

  1. reshmma

    Thank you so much for sharing the reviews. I am definitely going to read it soon and add value to my life.

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Reshma, so glad you're enjoying the book reviews! Thank-you for taking the time to comment 🙂 Warmly, Emma-Louise


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