Hate Tough Conversations? Reframe as Opportunities

How good are you at having tough conversations? I know most of us don’t enjoy them, and it’s tempting to avoid them altogether. However, not having these conversations usually means someone is paying a price, including you or your family, your work colleagues, or even your organization. And often, a situation doesn’t improve until it’s addressed.

Recently, while talking with a client (primarily a people problem solver), we reframed these difficult discussions as valuegenic conversations instead. If you haven’t heard of being “valuegenic” before, it’s all about creating the most value for everyone involved not only in conversations but in all situations. Unlike thinking of it as a “tough” conversation, which often feels negative and daunting, valuegenic conversations focus on creating positive outcomes and mutual benefits.

Recognizing the Cost of Avoidance

We often avoid tough conversations, putting up with poor performance, bad behavior, unfair conditions, or other situations that diminish value and good outcomes. This avoidance can have long-term negative consequences, such as decreased trust and morale, productivity, and overall effectiveness. Addressing these issues directly, with a valuegenic mindset, can help prevent these outcomes and create positive relationships and a more productive environment.

Steps to Transform Tough Conversations into Valuegenic Ones

  1. Shift Your Mindset: Start by changing how you view the conversation. Instead of seeing it as a difficult or negative task, view it as an opportunity to create value and improve the situation for everyone involved.
  2. Focus on Mutual Benefits: Think about the outcomes that would benefit all parties. A valuegenic conversation aims to find solutions that are advantageous for everyone, not just one side.
  3. Prepare with Empathy and Understanding: Understand the perspectives and concerns of the other party. Approach the conversation with empathy, aiming to listen as much as you speak.
  4. Be Clear and Constructive: Clearly articulate the issue at hand and provide constructive feedback. Focus on specific behaviors or conditions rather than personal attributes.
  5. Collaborate on Solutions: Don’t feel like you need to solve the problem. You need to ask “good” questions and work together to find solutions. Encourage input from the other party and strive for a collaborative approach to problem-solving.
  6. Follow-Up and Follow Through: Ensure that you follow up on the conversation and take necessary actions. This demonstrates your commitment to creating value and resolving the issue.

Real-World Applications

Imagine a team member consistently missing deadlines. A typical “tough” conversation might involve pointing out their failures and stressing the need for improvement. However, a valuegenic approach would involve discussing the impact of missed deadlines on the team and finding ways to support the team members in meeting expectations. This might include identifying underlying issues, offering resources, or adjusting processes to better fit their workflow.

In another example, if you’re dealing with a client who is dissatisfied, a valuegenic conversation would focus on understanding their concerns and collaboratively finding ways to enhance their experience. This not only resolves the immediate issue but also builds a stronger, more trusting partnership.

The Benefits of Valuegenic Conversations

By adopting a valuegenic approach, you’re addressing problems positively, directly, and constructively. This fosters a culture of open communication and continuous improvement and leads to better outcomes. People are more likely to engage in constructive dialogue when they feel heard and valued, leading to stronger relationships and more effective teams.

Next time you’re faced with a conversation you’re dreading, think about how a valuegenic reframe can motivate you to address the issue head-on. Embrace the opportunity to create value and improve the situation for everyone involved.

If you’d like to learn about being more valuegenic, click the link below to schedule a chat with me. Together, we can explore how to be more valuegenic in your personal and professional life, helping you navigate challenging situations confidently and positively.

If you’re ready to transform your approach to tough conversations and become more valuegenic, click the link below to schedule a chat with me. Together, we can explore how to incorporate this powerful mindset into your personal and professional life, empowering you to navigate challenging situations confidently, clearly, and positively.


Kristin Clark is an Axiogencs LLC Partner and Certified Axiogenics Coach. She’s the owner of Insight Coaching and co-author of Living a Richer Life; It’s All in Your Head which she proudly wrote with her dad. She’s coached hundreds of people from various backgrounds, beliefs, industries, and professions. Kristin trains and coaches owners, executives, and business leaders seeking to become Valuegenic Self-Leaders.  Kristin can help you master your A-Game to elevate your leadership, engage your team, enhance your performance, embrace your relationships, and enrich your life.

Image by Petra from Pixabay

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