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Virtual workshop

Navigating Difficult Conversations

23 June - 18 August 2022
(Europe and Middle East Time friendly)

Delivered by

John Sautelle and Eleanor Reardon

Fee range

US $695 - Please see Accessibility Fees for financial support.

Contact Person

John Sautelle


Five facilitated 2-hour virtual sessions (zoom) in a small group (maximum 24 participants). Support resources provided for pre and post session work to integrate skill development.

Who should come

Leaders, coaches, anyone who is familiar with the fear and awkwardness that comes with beginning – and continuing – difficult conversations.

What you will learn

This program is designed to build your confidence and reduce your anxiety regarding challenging conversations. It will help you change the way you think about ‘difficult’ conversations and transform them into ‘learning’ conversations that build relationships and reduce conflict. 

From a stance of curiosity, you will gain a deeper understanding of your own sense-making and the experience of others. 

You will learn how to better manage emotional reactivity in yourself and how to respond more effectively when others get defensive. 

The concepts and practices build towards a structured and practical set of steps to plan and hold a learning conversation using the Conversation Framework. The building blocks are spaced to give you time to practice during and between sessions.

The program is interactive and experiential with opportunities to share experiences and learn with and from other participants.

About the Sessions

Session 1 – Understanding My Sense-Making

  • Explores the way you construct your experience of the world and describe that experience through stories.
  • Introduces the use of Gervase Bushe’s “Experience Cube” – to deconstruct your experience so you understand it more deeply and clearly and can communicate it more effectively to others.
  • Helps you understand how every human being makes subtly or dramatically different meaning-making ‘stories’ from the same experience.

Session 2 – Getting Curious about Their Sense-Making

  • Provides an advanced Listening to Understand skill.
  • Explores how we make sense of the other person and what they are doing.
  • Introduces the use of Multiple Perspectives to get curious about what their experience might be and insight into the relationship dynamics.

Session 3 – Managing Defensiveness

  • Explores common survival ‘triggers’ which activate defensiveness in yourself and others.
  • Introduces two practical frameworks to help you manage your emotional state and defuse defensiveness in others.

Session 4 – Planning and Conducting the Conversation

  • This session brings it all together as you use the Conversation Framework to plan and practice having a difficult conversation after the session. 
  • Working with a partner, you will have the opportunity to plan a specific conversation you might have been avoiding, sharing as much detail as you choose.  

Session 5 – Review and Consolidation

  • This session provides the opportunity to debrief how the conversation/s you held after Session 4 went, consolidate skills and learning and identify any additional support you need to feel confident holding conversations in the future.

Dates & Times

Display the dates and times for:

Session 1 23rd June, 2022 5:00 pm
Session 2 7th July, 2022 5:00 pm
Session 3 21st July, 2022 5:00 pm
Session 4 4th August, 2022 5:00 pm
Session 5 18th August, 2022 5:00 pm


‘Surprisingly, not only did I learn about managing difficult conversations, I learnt a lot about myself. It’s both a professional and personal development journey.’ ~ Sheunnie Loo, Team Leader, International Insurance

‘I would recommend this course to anyone that would like to improve one-to-one communication and or anyone wishing to improve their one-to-one relationships.’ ~ Karen Seah, Senior Executive, Australian Government Agency

‘Don’t fear difficult conversations and break down the barriers found in communicating in everyday life. Great course to be used everywhere and for everyone.’  ~ Tom Laslett, Engineer

‘This course is invaluable- I am already feeling the benefits of less anxiety and ‘story’ creation, less emotional reactivity. Now that I understand myself better and have strategies to navigate difficult conversations, I have better relationships with others.’ ~ Caillie Dunne, Founder, AntiCommitment

‘Navigating Difficult Conversations has been a fantastic course to take part in. I have no doubt that the insight and skills I have gained have already had a manifold effect on my life and will continue to do so. Very helpful, very insightful, very worthwhile.’  ~ Anna Herold Pola


Accessibility - Fees

US $695 per person.

We wish to make this course as widely available as possible. We provide funding support for people:

  • working in not-for-profit organisations
  • from marginalised or underrepresented group
  • who have limited financial means

If you wish to explore options for funding support, please contact John Sautelle <john@cultivatingleadership.com>.

Cancellation & Terms

Payment is fully refundable up to 28 days before the start of the event, less a 13% processing fee; it is not refundable thereafter. If the event is under-enrolled, we reserve the right to cancel 28 days prior to the event start date, and refund your registration fee in full.

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In the words of past participants…

‘The Navigating Difficult Conversations workshop gave me insights and tools to better conduct conversations when the stakes are high.’
~ Shai Haim, Chief Technology Officer, Global Tech

‘I have noticed how my relationships with those I have had these conversations with have deepened and how this has allowed for greater inner peace and connectedness in my life’.
~ Camille de Picot, Executive Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist

Faculty Bios

John Sautelle

John is deeply curious about how our individual and collective stories create fears that stand in the way of important conversations. He is passionate about supporting others understand and address these fears, enabling them to build greater connection through the most difficult of conversations. John is the author of Choose Your Stories, Change Your Life, in which he details the change process he has evolved over the past 18 years to support his clients make the changes they are struggling to make. His work is also featured in his TEDx Talk: Whose Stories Are We Living? In his coaching work with leaders and teams, John supports his clients tap into heart, body, mind and spirit to grow themselves, and scale their impact, in sustainable and life-giving ways.

Eleanor Reardon

Developing safe, inclusive relationships is the foundation of Eleanor’s approach in all areas of her life - as parent, Psychologist, facilitator, researcher, consultant and team leader. As a Senior Psychologist within the Education sector, Eleanor loves the challenge of identifying what needs to change for students, teachers and parents to be successful learners and leaders and then supporting that change to happen. With a deep curiosity about each person’s story, Eleanor understands that making small changes with seemingly everyday things can be both difficult and life-changing. Through her work supporting and leading teams, and her research experiences, Eleanor is committed to bringing about systemic change. She works to foster inclusive workplaces and address inequities built into our social systems. Eleanor believes that our capacity to connect through challenging conversations, individually and collectively, is key.