We are three weeks out from the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) International Conference and Expo. Fierce is looking forward to both exhibiting at the conference and hosting our two mini-training sessions. As I wrote in a previous post, our first session, on May 23rd, is covering the Fierce Coaching model, and our second session, being held on May 24th, will cover our Fierce Confrontation model.
I’m excited in today’s post to explore the topic of our second mini-training session: confrontation.
The story of my grandma and grandpa’s romance is legendary in my family. It’s the stuff that romantic movies are made of. Love at first sight, childhood sweethearts, and a separation that spanned three years while my grandfather was over in Europe fighting in World War Two. Fast forward 60 plus years later, and they still are crazy about each other. It’s so good that Nicholas Sparks couldn’t make it up!
So you can imagine my surprise when my grandma’s main piece of advice to me before I got married was to never be afraid of having confrontational conversations. I always pictured their relationship as perfect, and since I never saw them have any disagreements, I just assumed they didn’t.
The secret my grandma let me in on was that they did disagree, and that it was due to all those moments they confronted and challenged each other that helped make their marriage work.
What my grandma didn’t explain was how you go about having those tough confrontational conversations. Usually you know you should say something, but confrontation has a strong context around it, and it’s not always clear the best way to be effective.
The Fierce Confrontation model is not about tactics. It’s not about convincing someone that you’re right, and they’re wrong. It’s about standing side-by-side with that person, and going on a search for the truth. Tactics, by their very nature, are goal-oriented, and human relationships are too dynamic for such a simple solution.
In our confrontation model we highlight the practical ways to have powerful confrontational conversations. How you can get in front of the issue with whomever you’re having the conversation with, and explore both points of view. What makes it so effective is that it’s not a model that asks you to leave your emotions at the door. Rather, it has you identify what the issue really is, clarify the effect it is having on you, and gives you the chance to really be thoughtful with the emotional side of the situation.
You have to be agile in all relationships. Having effective confrontation conversations is not a science, it’s a skill, and you get better the more you practice.