Tough Talks, Insights for Creating a Win-Win-Win: Alan Cohen, Acts of Balance, Interview With Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce, at the 2011 Counselors Academy

September 23rd, 2011

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at Counselors Academy. We’re joined by Alan.

Alan, will you please introduce yourself?

ALAN COHEN: Absolutely. My name’s Alan Cohen, and I’m president of Acts of Balance Executive Coaching and Training based out of New York City. And I work with public relations executives and PR firms to help develop more effective leaders, and I work a lot with communications skills and team-building.

BURKE: Great. Alan, you did a session on tough conversations for PR practitioners and agency owners here. Can you give us a couple of your insights as far as how people can set up and then have those tough conversations?

COHEN: Absolutely. One of the most common things that I see in my practice is people really avoiding having those tough talks. And in avoiding them, they actually make the situation even bigger and more volatile. We largely like to be people pleasers, and so we avoid having the conversations that may be unpleasant, may provoke some strong emotions. But what I do is really help develop people to think, to plan in advance, to go through a multistep process to really think about how they’re interpreting the situation, to really align their values with having the conversation and to really, really plan it out so that the conversation will develop into a real win-win-win; a win for the individual having the talk, the–a win for the person who’s being spoken to, and really a win for the relationship overall. It’s really about a collaboration. So as leaders, we need to have the courage to have the difficult conversations. And leadership is not always easy, but it’s important that we stay in integrity by really addressing the situations that are causing us discomfort.

BURKE: Alan, thank you so much. Where can people connect with you online and in social media?

COHEN: I’m at, and my Twitter handle is actsofbalance.

Or you can join my Facebook fan page, also Acts of Balance.

BURKE: Thank you so much, Alan.

COHEN: Thank you.

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