Fearless confrontation -how to have that awkward conversation

Fear of confrontation is pretty common, apparantly especially among women. The fear gets increased if the conversation is with someone who holds the power of consequence over you a boss, or teacher for example. In these cases we often bow our heads and expect the magical fix it gods to come and sort out the situation so we don’t have to do it. And guess what? It doesn’t. The situation often gets worse over time and you become more and more powerless by living in your victim role.

I recently coached a client who was scared of her teacher and yet in two years she had never explained her problem. Consequently she found excuses to not attend class, avoided studying the subject and was failing. Now faced with an important exam coming up where this teacher would be one of the examiners she was starting to break down. Luckily the school offered her coaching and together we addressed her fear, created a safe space for open communication and now she is back on track, the teacher got to learn something too.

This client in 24 hours went from victim to taking charge of the situation. It was amazing to be part of her process and support her in fearless confrontation of her teacher and her own emotional issues affecting her in this situation. The dialogue became a healthy productive environment and a blame free area with both parties accepting their responsibilities

Without confrontation we don’t grow. It’s as simple as that. Participating in and manifesting in healthy fearless confrontation allows us to find positive solutions, be empowered actors in our lives and challenge our own boundaries. Which is simply essential in life if we want to succeed. So if you are challenged by someone in your life at home, your social circle, work or school then here is a step by step guide to fearless confrontation- it maybe easier than you think it’s going to be.

Identify the issues

Often when we are talking about something challenging or fear inducing our emotions get the better of us, even more so in a confrontation situation. Here I recommend journaling. Write a letter (for your eyes only) to this person. Let each paragraph focus on a particular theme.

  1. Fear – why you are afraid of this person
  2. Situation – What the situation is that is causing this fear.
  3. Feelings – What does this make you feel (sadness, regret, embarrassment, worried, hurt).
  4. Why –  why does this situation provoke these emotions (is this something from your past resurfacing).
  5. Responses- How would you like the other person to respond (Start with I would like to hear you say…)
  6. Solutions- what solutions (if necessary) do you want to take this issue and turn it around.

This technique is loosely adapted from John Gray’s Love letter technique. It gives you a chance to both express your emotions and be objective to the situation.

Responsibility

Look for the areas of responsibility. Who is responsible for what? Pay particular attention to where is it your responsibility. Have you in fact been reacting to an old school bully trauma than the team leader you have today. Identifying your responsibility helps you out of the victim stance. Remember in every situation you have 50% responsibility on how that situation plays out.  

Create a safe space

How would you like to confront this person? Would you prefer to be in a room with an open door or another person there? If so who would you want to be there? Plan the location and support you need to make this confrontation.

Invite the other person to a meeting

Remember confrontations do not need to be negative. You want a healthy confrontation that will solve probelms not create them. Respectfully invite the other person to a meeting. Let them know what it is about in a neutral non emotional way.

For example “Peter, I would like to have the opportunity to discuss with you an issue that’s been on my mind about how we communicate with each other.  When would be a good time to talk?”

Prepare

Plan what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Focus on the core issues. Keep the agenda short and simple. For example

  • Discuss what what is working well for you
  • Present issue
  • Explain consequences for you
  • Ask their opinion about this issue
  • Accept your own responsibility and ask them to accept theirs
  • Discuss solutions – state what you want to resolve this issue and allow them the same courtesy
  • Agree on how to move forward.

Focus on fact based statements and keep the emotions under control. Make sure you practise your conversation, if possible roleplay it.

After the meeting

After the meeting there are 3 golden rules to follow

It ends here- When you leave that meeting the issue is over. From that moment it is a fresh clean slate. You need to move forward so allow yourself to do that.

Keep the agreements made – Take responsibility for yourself and keep the agreements made. It shows the other person you respect them and yourself.

Look for the teaching- Every confrontation in life is there to help us grow so look for what it is life is trying to tell you.   


Of course, not every confrontation can or will end positively.  However by committing to taking responsibility and stepping out of a victim stance you are doing your best to create a positive resolution. Be brave and take your own life situation into your own hands. Remember you can’t change what you aren’t willing to confront.

Have a great week <3

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