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  • Writer's pictureben nathan

Have you checked your bags?

I don’t mean the bags you take on holiday, I mean have you checked the bags you take into challenging conversations?

Yesterday I was coaching a group of senior managers and directors at a well-known automotive company. We used the time to explore the challenging conversations they were worried about and we discussed the baggage they were carrying into those conversations, preventing a better outcome.

BAGS (Baggage, Assumptions, Goals and State) is a great model I use with these types of scenarios, and it only takes a few minutes.

Before your next courageous or challenging conversation, ask yourself the following questions -

Baggage - How is the baggage you associate with that person (eg, past interactions, history of the relationship, reputation heard from others) stopping you have a better conversation? And what can you do to leave that unhelpful baggage outside the room?

Assumptions - What negative assumptions are you making about how the conversation will go? (Eg, this is going to go badly, they think I’m no good at my job) And what different assumptions can you set for a more positive mindset?

Goals - How realistic are the goals you’ve set for the meeting? And who do they serve? If you could set just one really powerful goal, that served both people, what would it be?

State - What physical state are you in? If you’re stressed, it’s likely shown in your face and body. And it starts with breath. Try the simple 4,7,8 breathing exercise ( to calm your nerves and put you in a better place.

That's it.

Remember to check your BAGS.

And safe travels!

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