1st Edition

Breakthrough Conversations for Coaches, Consultants and Leaders

By Graham Lee Copyright 2022
    210 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Conversational effectiveness is a barometer of human thriving and facilitating insightful conversations is a powerful method for accelerating psychological change and collaboration. This ground-breaking professional book provides a map of Breakthrough Conversations together with a practical toolkit for enhancing awareness, emotional resilience and creativity.

    Neuroscience, mindfulness and psychological research shows that awareness is pivotal to skilful conversations. By supporting clients to observe and manage their own body-brain states during conversation, they can learn to switch on the physiological systems that support more authentic, agile, and attuned interactions. Three body-brain states, reactive, habitual and reflective – characterised as Red, Amber and Green (RAG) - are differentiated in terms of body-sensations and behaviours, and these correspond to predictable interactive patterns. Facilitated to experience more emotionally resilient conversations, clients access their natural capacities for collaboration, compassion and shared creativity. This journey, through the five stages of Breakthrough Conversations, drawing on the RAG frame and a number of other practical models, is richly illustrated with case studies from working one-to-one and with pairs.

    Coming to see conversations as a dance driven by the interactions of underlying needs and emotions frees clients to make paradigm shifts in their self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness. This book, and the approach it outlines, will be essential reading for coaches, consultants, leaders and all professionals seeking to choreograph more insightful conversations.

    01. The Power of Conversations 02. Developing a Breakthrough Body-Brain 03. Awareness is the Key to Breakthrough 04. A Map of Breakthrough Conversations 05. Preparing the Ground 06. Managing Emotional States 07. Loosening Habit and Reactivity 08. Seeing the Dance from the Balcony 09. Harnessing Expanded Perspectives


    Graham Lee is a leadership coach, psychotherapist, and mindfulness teacher. By integrating the domains of neuroscience, psychology, mindfulness, and leadership, he offers a unique blend of pragmatism and depth in facilitating change in individuals, pairs and teams.

    "Most of us struggle to have skilful conversations, and it’s partly our lack of self-awareness and skill in this arena that’s got humankind in the trouble it’s in today. Lee lives up to his description of coach as ‘wilderness guide’, mapping out the territory of skilful dialogue, and accompanying us on a journey to discovery of what it takes to have meaningful courageous compassionate conversations. A generous treasure trove of resources, from accessible explanations of the underpinning science, to case studies, nifty tools and techniques, this timely book can transform our world, one mindful conversation at a time."

    • Liz Hall, author of Mindful Coaching, editor of Coaching at Work magazine, leadership coach and mindfulness teacher

    "Graham Lee is at once a safe and an exciting pair of hands to be in, when you are navigating the choppy but rewarding territory of breakthrough conversations. His thinking is structured and clear, and his writing so transparent that you are struck, viscerally, by the powerful ideas that it carries. Lee’s intent is more than positive: it is transformational. He provides a trusty framework for the novice and the unsure, and a compendium of delights for the experienced and the confident."

    • Alison Hardingham, Executive Professor at Henley Business School, Fellow of the British Psychological Society, APECS accredited Master Executive Coach and Coaching Supervisor, Psychodynamic Psychotherapist (Oxford)

    "Our shared future relies more than ever before on conversations that break down division, build trust, and generate collaboration. Graham Lee provides organisational consultants and coaches with a profound methodology for enabling their clients to engage in such conversations. Drawing on key ideas from the worlds of psychology and mindfulness, he presents practical tools that can be applied immediately in the workplace, so that conversational participants can remain resourceful and constructive, even in the toughest of situations."

    • Peter Young, Leadership Coach and Consultant, Bladon Leadership Ltd.

    "Graham Lee sets out a coherent and worthwhile theory of human functioning that provides a particularly convincing account of how we deal with emotions. I am of the opinion that Lee’s position has sufficient psychological depth even if the obligatory references to neuroscience are removed. The book is full of insightful ideas for practitioners that are based on robust knowledge and the rich professional expertise of the author. I will certainly be recommending it, not only to students of coaching but also to seasoned and discerning practitioners."

    • Prof Tatiana Bachkirova, Professor of Coaching Psychology, Oxford Brookes University

    "Given the complexity of today’s world, developing the capacity to have breakthrough conversations is more important than ever. Graham provides us with a map that has both clarity and depth. In a digital age effective collaboration is becoming a key competitive advantage. Breakthrough Conversations is a rich and skillful guidebook that shows the way. For those interested in vertical development, it provides a beautifully accessible pathway into observing and transcending habitual and reactive patterns and in doing so, finding the balcony and expanded perspectives. These are important developmental moves for us all in navigating complexity and enabling transformational change."

    • Mark McMordie, CEO, The Conscious Leader and co-author of Mindfulness for Coaches