Case Study: Tensar – Courageous conversations

The Need:

For managers to feel confident and capable giving specific, actionable feedback.

Key Themes:

To be able to make clear requests, give feedback, being clear and respectful, have confidence.

Our approach:

A one-day workshop that increased understanding and offered relevant and useful approaches in the morning, and then worked with actors in the afternoon to make the learning real, refining and reflecting, deepening skill levels and building confidence.

Scenarios were created based on work based topics, the actors were briefed, clear facilitation and feedback were given by participants, and then people created their own scenarios that the actors used to help each person practise their skills, gain confidence and get the muscle memory of having these conversations.

Our learning:

  • When people are developing courage they benefit from reassurance
  • Respect people’s nervousness – that feeling can come from many places, work alongside people to help them experiment, deepen their skills and be mindful of the stretch people are experiencing
  • Help people to reflect on their experience and how they will use their skill.

Here is some of the feedback from the groups:

Programme rating (Rating scale 1 = poor, 10=excellent)


Overall programme rating


Programme rating (Rating scale 1 = not at all, 10=completely)


I will be able to use what I have learnt immediately


I will recommend the training to a colleague


How would you describe the training to a colleague?

  • Useful, informative, working with actors and receiving the feedback is a worthwhile experience
  • Very useful, to implement on a daily basis
  • Training gives you a good structure and approach on how to give feedback, with the opportunity to put theory into practise
  • Interactive and interesting when willing to listen
  • Thought provoking
  • Enjoyable and not intimidating
  • Key principles and practical
  • Interesting and worthwhile
What are the top three actions you will implement at work?

  • Practise reflective listening. Use ISAID framework. Refer to mood elevator
  • Keep talking with employees on a daily basis. Will ask people it there are areas they feel lack of feedback
  • Try to feedback more regularly. Make use of the ISAID model. Be open to receiving more feedback > more 121’s with manager
  • Informal communication – find time to increase (build relations) with existing staff. As above but with new staff. 121’s with apprentice who probably needs more regular feedback
  • Active listening. More open questioning and giving people more time to answer. Looking for opportunities to give constructive feedback
  • Create a meeting environment. Prepare to have a structure and objective to a meeting. Ensure the meeting has an agreed constructive conclusion
  • Have a plan, key bullet points. Have a hoped-for-outcome that is realistic for the intended feedback/conversation. Continue to celebrate success and build feedback into and on top of that
  • Listen, don’t pressure a negative response. Share feedback regularly. Take time to prepare.