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The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs Paperback – Oct 6 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (Oct. 6 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162656065X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626560659
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

While difficult conversations may be the most dreaded task of any manager, Reynolds (Outsmart Your Brain) maintains that if handled effectively they can lead to greater employee investment and retention. Key to this approach is establishing trust and then progressing to reflective feedback and stimulating questions to help others regard situations more purposefully and grow beyond self-set limitations. The DREAM acronym sums up Reynold's insights: Determine, Reflect, Explore, Acknowledge, and Make sure. In essence, this book serves as a course in active listening for business. VERDICT Learning the skills set forth in this work would be a plus for any leader. Library Journal The book offers a number of helpful tips to probe in a tender way and maintain equilibrium in the discomfort zone. The value of such conversations is obvious, and if you want to try helping others through the discomfort zone, the book may be a good place to start. The Globe and Mail Exceptionally well organized and presented, The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Very highly recommended Midwest Book Review even experienced coaches will learn something new. People Management This book is for leaders and coaches who want to create breakthroughs with people who are stuck or resisting change. Talent Grow This is that book you want to keep close by, to turn to again and again to further your skills with those difficult conversations in the discomfort zone. Zane Safrit, blogger Marcia gives real-world, rubber-meets-the-road insights and tactics to make our interactions count. Vickie Sullivan, blogger Reynolds provides brilliant, grounded, and pragmatic tools to elevate a coaching conversation to an opportunity for growth. Kevin Cashman, Senior Partner, Korn Ferry, and author of the bestselling Leadership from the Inside Out and The Pause Principle As a CEO, my success depends on my ability to coach my team through difficult situations that could hold us back. Dr. Reynolds's book opened my mind, heart, and gut, teaching me how to listen and to truly have breakthrough moments with my team. Krista Endsley, CEO, Abila Reynolds is a master at applying her extensive knowledge of the brain to the practical realities of leaders. She brilliantly applies the latest research on behavioral change to help leaders create significant learning moments. Deb Giffen, Director, Innovative Learning Solutions, Wharton Executive Education"

About the Author

Marcia Reynolds, PsyD and Master Certified Coach, is president of Covisioning, a leadership training and coaching firm helping organizations unleash the brilliance in their people. Her clients include global corporations, government agencies, and international nonprofit organizations. Marcia is the author of four books, including Outsmart Your Brain and Wander Woman, and is a global past president of the International Coach Federation.


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Format: Kindle Edition
I read and reviewed Marcia Reynolds' previous book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction (2010), and then interviewed her. She has a keen interest in interactive relationships between and among people who are struggling to cope with a world in which change is the only constant, especially now when change happens more often and faster than at any prior time that I can remember. She has an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn't, and (especially) why. Over the years, she has helped leaders in countless companies to create and then sustain a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

In her latest book, The Discomfort Zone, she shares her thoughts about how to thrive during moments of uncertainty when people are most receptive to learn. As Reynolds explains, "In order to define who we are and make sense of the world around us, our brains develop [or embrace] constructs and rules we strongly protect without much thought. This is what James O'Toole has in mind when suggesting, in Leading Change, that the strongest resistance to change tends to be cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." What to do? Reynolds: "To help people think differently, you have to disturb the automatic processing. This is best done by challenging the beliefs that caused the frames and surfacing the underlying fears, needs, and desires that are keeping the constructs in place." My other rather extensive experience which change initiatives convinced me that those lead them must take into full account a powerful but unspoken question that most people have: "What's in it for me?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great read! This book manages to straddle two polar opposites- it is simple to follow but deep and insightful. The content is ground-breaking. Rather than regurgitating concepts you have read before Marcia Reynolds takes you from your head to your heart to your gut and teaches you the value of each as you have difficult, but illuminating conversations. From now on I will focus on activating my brain with curiosity, my heart with caring and my gut with courage to achieve the best results. This book will be valuable for everyone from the coach, to the CEO, to the parent. It is highly recommended for those who want to leave behind the outdated command and control methods to manage with growth and connection in their interactions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0f8ef0c) out of 5 stars 43 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0fd8288) out of 5 stars The concepts of the book are interesting and thought provoking ... Dec 30 2014
By Duane Bodle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The concepts of the book are interesting and thought provoking, however, there is one very major constraining factor in my opinion.
For mechanisms described to have any chance of success they are predicated upon the existence of a "bi-directional Trust-Relationship" between both parties involved. The described approaches (such as speaking from the Gut) would appear to be certain to yield career suicide when you report to a Boss not a leader who's a Win-Lose negotiator constantly looking for leverage. I guess this is intended to be a top down approach as in I am the person in the position of authority and you have a problem that has come to my attention and now I need to decide what to do with you.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Judith C. Tingley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Introduction grabbed my attention. “People need to be aroused by surprising statements about their behavior and by questions that make them stop and think about what they are saying . . . If you act on this moment by helping to solidify the new awareness, their minds will change.”

WOW! I was hooked from the start when Reynolds pointed out that the discomfort zone is when the brain is most open to learning. I had never read anything similar to what she proposed. I had intuitively and occasionally tried unorthodox approaches when working with oppositional, seemingly resistant, stuck people, but never put together definitions, descriptions, a solid theory and practice. Reynolds has always had a new, original perspective on work, life, relationships, coaching and mentoring. She's ahead of the game, and she's done it again in The Discomfort Zone. Her focus is on how the message is felt and heard by the receiver. A warm, accepting, nodding, non-judgemental message from a leader gives the receiver one more opportunity to stay stuck. An uncomfortable, surprising, unexpected message gives the receiver an opportunity to learn, change, move in a new direction.

Reynolds does to readers what she suggests that leaders do with people they are coaching or mentoring. She puts us in the Discomfort Zone with her breakthrough thinking. Readers may feel cowardly and a bit stale until they try out what she suggests in order to get less uncomfortable.

This happily short, cut-to-the-chase book (164 pages) is well-organized and researched, packed with practical, useful, creative thinking and examples of practice for the experienced leader in a variety of situations — as well as any intelligently brave person who wants and needs a new, better way to handle a difficult conversation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0fd545c) out of 5 stars A must-read for all managers Dec 9 2014
By Wade Danielson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had Marcia on my podcast, The Entrepreneurs Library, to give us a deep dive of The Discomfort Zone. With Marcia's experience she gives amazing insight on handling the most awkward management moments. If you would like to hear a review from the author herself check out episode 84 on [...]
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0f7d6c0) out of 5 stars Her proven model for breakthrough conversations is easy to remember and her cases are compelling Oct. 13 2014
By Catherine Robinson-Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Discomfort Zone is an essential book for leaders and coaches. Dr. Marcia Reynolds is a coach’s coach with unparalleled experience in working with leaders all around the globe. Her point of view will resonate with all those who have observed how organizational relationships do – and do not – thrive. Her proven model for breakthrough conversations is easy to remember and her cases are compelling. Don’t let the small size of The Discomfort Zone fool you. Dr. Reynolds has streamlined her considerable wisdom into this accessible, absorbing read for anyone committed to bringing out the best in others. Bravo!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0fae6c0) out of 5 stars If you are not in a positive discomfort zone, get a different map and compass. Oct. 31 2014
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read and reviewed Marcia Reynolds' previous book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction (2010), and then interviewed her. She has a keen interest in interactive relationships between and among people who are struggling to cope with a world in which change is the only constant, especially now when change happens more often and faster than at any prior time that I can remember. She has an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn't, and (especially) why. Over the years, she has helped leaders in countless companies to create and then sustain a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

In her latest book, The Discomfort Zone, she shares her thoughts about how to thrive during moments of uncertainty when people are most receptive to learn. As Reynolds explains, "In order to define who we are and make sense of the world around us, our brains develop [or embrace] constructs and rules we strongly protect without much thought. This is what James O'Toole has in mind when suggesting, in Leading Change, that the strongest resistance to change tends to be cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." What to do? Reynolds: "To help people think differently, you have to disturb the automatic processing. This is best done by challenging the beliefs that caused the frames and surfacing the underlying fears, needs, and desires that are keeping the constructs in place." My other rather extensive experience which change initiatives convinced me that those lead them must take into full account a powerful but unspoken question that most people have: "What's in it for me?"

These are among the major subjects and issues that Reynolds addresses:

o What a discomfort zone is and why it can be beneficial
o The best circumstances in which to have a discomfort zone conversation
o What differentiates a discomfort zone conversation from others
o Five myths about a workplace and what in fact is true
o Keys to effective listening
o How what you hear can help to guide and inform your response
o How to use discomfort conversations to avoid or overcome communication barriers
o How to use discomfort conversations to "embrace what's next"
o How to leverage what is learned from interactions within the discomfort zone

The approach that Reynolds recommends is research-driven, one that takes into full account the realities that now exist in a global marketplace but also the basics of human nature that have remained true since an incident long ago when a serpent engaged a woman in conversation about apples in a garden. Toxic leaders create and sustain discomfort zones that depress, discourage, and demoralize those within them. Obviously, that's not what Marcia Reynolds has in mind. The leaders she most admires are those who create and then sustain a workplace environment within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

In fact, all organizations need leadership at all levels and in all areas throughout the given enterprise. There are almost unlimited opportunities every day for everyone to convert interactive encounters -- conversations that are uncomfortable for them as well as for others -- into breakthroughs that improve communication, cooperation, and -- especially -- collaboration.


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