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You want people to stretch their limits, but your conversations meant to help them often fall flat or backfire, creating more resistance than growth. Top leadership coach Marcia Reynolds offers a model for using the Discomfort Zone—the moment when the mind is most open to learning—to prompt people to think through problems, see situations more strategically, and transcend their limitations.
Drawing on recent discoveries in the neuroscience of learning, Reynolds shows how to ask the kinds of questions that short-circuit the brain’s defense mechanisms and habitual thought patterns. Then, instead of being told, people see for themselves the insightful and often profound solutions to what is stopping their progress. The exercises and case studies will help you use discomfort in your conversations to create lasting changes and an enlivened workforce.
“While difficult conversations may be the most dreaded task of any manager, Reynolds (Outsmart Your Brain) maintains that if handled effectively they can lead to greater employee investment and retention. Key to this approach is establishing trust and then progressing to reflective feedback and stimulating questions to help others regard situations more purposefully and grow beyond self-set limitations. The DREAM acronym sums up Reynold’s insights: Determine, Reflect, Explore, Acknowledge, and Make sure. In essence, this book serves as a course in active listening for business. VERDICT Learning the skills set forth in this work would be a plus for any leader.”
“The book offers a number of helpful tips to probe in a tender way and maintain equilibrium in the discomfort zone. The value of such conversations is obvious, and if you want to try helping others through the discomfort zone, the book may be a good place to start.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Exceptionally well organized and presented, The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Very highly recommended…”
—Midwest Book Review
“…even experienced coaches will learn something new.”
“This book is for leaders and coaches who want to create breakthroughs with people who are stuck or resisting change.”
“This is that book you want to keep close by, to turn to again and again to further your skills with those difficult conversations in the discomfort zone.”
—Zane Safrit, blogger
“Marcia gives real-world, rubber-meets-the-road insights and tactics to make our interactions count.”
—Vickie Sullivan, blogger
“Reynolds provides brilliant, grounded, and pragmatic tools to elevate a coaching conversation to an opportunity for growth.”
—Kevin Cashman, Senior Partner, Korn Ferry, and author of the bestselling Leadership from the Inside Out and The Pause Principle
“As a CEO, my success depends on my ability to coach my team through difficult situations that could hold us back. Dr. Reynolds’s book opened my mind, heart, and gut, teaching me how to listen and to truly have breakthrough moments with my team.”
—Krista Endsley, CEO, Abila
“Reynolds is a master at applying her extensive knowledge of the brain to the practical realities of leaders. She brilliantly applies the latest research on behavioral change to help leaders create significant learning moments.”
—Deb Giffen, Director, Innovative Learning Solutions, Wharton Executive Education
Leaders, coaches, and mentors are charged with helping others to stretch their limits. However, few people enjoy hearing the messy―and sometimes painful―feedback it takes to break through a personal obstacle. Marcia Reynolds shows that there is a right way to use the discomfort zone to help others grow, not suffer.
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