This Master Class is offered in partnership with Columbia Business School Executive Education. You will receive a Certificate of Completion by IPL & Columbia.

Mastering Difficult Conversations

domain: science of people
Program: winning people's support


Click on the play button above to watch a video excerpt from this class

Name *

Spring: Session 1 - Jan. 30, 2017 to Mar. 12, 2017
             Session 2 - Mar. 27, 2017 to May. 7, 2017

Summer: Session 1 - May. 22, 2017 to Jul. 2, 2017 

Fall: Session 1 - Sep. 11, 2017 to Oct. 22, 2017
        Session 2 - Nov. 6, 2017 to Dec. 17, 2017


Enroll Now by providing your contact details in the form on the right. Click on Proceed to Enroll to complete your enrollment.

We have limited scholarships available. Learn more


Translate Moments of Conflict into Collaborative, Win-Win Outcomes

How should you respond to criticism? Say "no"? Provide critical feedback? Express your concern or disagreement? Get someone to change their mind? As we grow professionally, we begin to recognize how critical it is for us to master difficult conversations. Some people act aggressively in such situations in order to push their agenda. Others disengage from the situation, often surrendering their agenda. Great leaders actively pursue their agenda but do it in a manner that builds understanding and collaboration, rather than tension, resentment and disagreement. This is not simply a result of their personality or character, but is an acquired skill that is founded on specific techniques and practice.

Mastering Difficult Conversations trains you in how to successfully deal with difficult conversations. You will be introduced to 5 Principles and 10 Techniques for mastering the process of going from conflict to collaboration – in a single interaction. You will learn specific techniques for how to say no positively, how to disagree constructively, how to respond to criticism, and more.

Most of all, you will walk away with a much deeper appreciation for how conflict-ridden conversations can, when approached the right way, lead to positive, win-win outcomes.  

What You Will Learn

  • “4 x C” framework for understanding the key drivers of success in difficult conversations
  • 5 Principles and 10 Techniques for getting positive outcomes from difficult conversations
  • Scientific research on how our inner life - our emotions, thoughts, beliefs and values – affects our dynamics during moments of conflict
  • How great leaders have moved their people from conflict to collaboration, won over their opponents, and achieved win-win breakthroughs
  • Practical toolkit for how to create win-win outcomes in situations where you have to disagree with people or say “No” to them
  • Video role-play challenges that allow you to get practice and feedback, using IPL’s proprietary Virtual Mentor platform – to help you build new habits and generate tangible breakthroughs in your approach to having difficult conversations
  • Film clips that help illustrate the 5 Principles and 10 Techniques of Difficult Conversation

Course Structure 
This IPL-Columbia Master Class offers you the opportunity to go on a focused 6-week learning journey to gain mastery over a particular personal leadership topic. Scientific insights and tools are supplemented with a strong dose of practice and personal integration.  

  • Duration:  6 weeks
  • Time Required:  2 hours per week
  • Self-paced, high-quality video lectures
  • Online reflections and discussion
  • IPL’s proprietary myPL mobile learning platform for convenient on-the-go access
  • IPL’s proprietary Virtual Mentor platform for practice and feedback 
  • Certificate of Completion from the Institute for Personal Leadership & Columbia Business School Executive Education.
  • Access to the IPL toolbox – tools, templates, and frameworks

Mastering Difficult Conversations is based on IPL’s scientific learning system, integrating breakthrough research in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, sociology, medicine and psychotherapy, a rigorous study of great leaders and organizations, and a practical toolkit to drive tangible improvement in your personal leadership skills. 

This online course is taught by Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa, Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School and Founder of the Institute for Personal Leadership. You can read his bio on the Columbia website or here on the IPL Founder’s page.

The role-play practice in this Master Class is great to help develop critical skills that put you on a path to optimize interactions with others, improve outcomes and enhance relationships. I had to let an employee go due to policy violations. The conversation was better and the outcome less destructive because of my approach based on the techniques learnt in this class.
— Stuart Page, CEO, Glori Energy – a GE Ventures Company
Stuart Page

Stuart Page

This Master Class has helped me dramatically improve my personal leadership qualities and interpersonal communications skills through its principles, techniques and simulations of various aspects of corporate life followed by feedback and evaluation. I have validated my new skills within our startup company and results have been stunning – the quality of the teamwork has dramatically improved.
— Leon Eisen, CEO and Co-founder, Oxitone – a GE Ventures Company

This [Master Class] has helped me in becoming more mindful of my communication style, and that has improved my effectiveness. The role-plays are an innovative and entertaining way to hone your interpersonal skills. The use of video scenarios and peer review make the experience immersive and highly educational.
— Brian Stempel, Director-Litigation Technology, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Brian Stempel 

Brian Stempel