Course description

Managers are a hub for communications in any organization. Disagreements and difficult conversations are inevitable within any workplace, as are conversations about performance.

Understanding concepts like psychological safety, unconscious bias, and the dangers of poor communication will enable you to take a thoughtful and respectful approach to tricky or sensitive topics. In a guided process with peers, you will use the course learnings and co-create a tool kit of communication strategies, frameworks, and techniques for difficult conversations. Instructed by Realize experts Alison Marshall (Principal Consultant) and Gillian Harper (Organizational Development Consultant), students will have exclusive direct access to our instructors' combined expertise and experience as well as space to workshop individual workplace scenarios.

The course consists of short pre-session reading and reflections, followed by an intensive LIVE 3-hour lesson in Zoom and Miro with practical group work, tangible takeaways, key insights, and instruction by our organizational development experts Alison Marshall and Gillian Harper. This course will be open from Oct 31 - Nov 4, 2022.

Who is this for?

  • Middle managers, supervisors, and team leaders responsible for maintaining a healthy and productive workplace

  • Managers from the private or public sector as well as from any industry will benefit from attending

Benefits for you

  • Understand and explore the concepts of psychological safety and unconscious bias

  • Co-create a toolkit for respectful conversations

  • Identify types of difficult management conversations and explore communication strategies and skills to handle them effectively

  • Create talking points and processes to use in difficult conversations


All of our instructors are experts in their fields and practicing consultants, bringing you the latest insights and best practices grounded in research and current trends.

Alison Marshall

Principal Consultant and Senior Instructor

Alison Marshall has over twenty years of consulting experience supporting public-sector and non-profit organizations in strategic planning, organizational design, and change management. With both an MBA and a BA in Psychology informing her approach, Alison is uniquely skilled at helping institutions identify opportunities, navigate challenges, and optimize strategies to support their mission. She has worked at Realize Strategies for fourteen years and is an expert in facilitating in-person and virtual sessions with Boards, leadership teams, and management groups. Alison’s people-centred method to strategy and development ensures that the most valuable resources of an organization, its employees, are considered throughout the process.

Gillian Harper

Organizational Development Consultant and Senior Instructor,
MA Organizational Psychology, CPHR

Data-expert Gillian Harper helps organizations analyze and strengthen their employee experience and overall structure to support long-term resilience and growth. She applies her training and expertise to help organizations design professional environments that foster employee engagement, development and fulfillment. As a consultant with Realize Strategies, Gillian works with clients to identify strategically-aligned leadership candidates; support development of holistic, meaningful HR strategies; and optimize organizational structure and culture. Gillian is certified in multiple leadership, performance, and culture assessments.

Course topics

  • Psychological Safety

  • The Role of the Manager

  • Dangers, Biases, and Costs

  • Communication Strategies

  • Timing and Preparation

Interested in private training for your team?

We can also work directly with your teams one on one, in-person or digitally.

Respectful Conversations for Difficult Topics (Fall 2022)

Course Dates: Oct 31 - Nov 4, 2022

Live Lesson: Nov 1, 2022 | 9AM - 12PM PDT