Defensive behaviours: coaching and consulting for change

25 September 2015

Defensive behaviours: coaching and consulting for change

Using our expertise and our own deep research on this topic, we’ve developed defensive behaviours: coaching and consulting for change. The course will equip you with a range tools to understand and better manage these behaviours. 

25 September 2015 (9am-5.30pm)

Why is this course important?

In the current public sector climate of uncertainty, change and budget cuts, many managers are struggling to have productive conversations with their team members. When difficult conversations are not managed sensitively, they can often lead to defensive and unproductive behaviours. Implementing transformational change in this kind of hostile environment is much harder and more expensive for any organisation. We understand that all people, teams and organisations have defences, and that, if these defences are not managed properly, they can act as a real barrier to implementing change.

What is the course?

Using our expertise and our own deep research on this topic, we’ve developed defensive behaviours: coaching and consulting for change. The course will equip you with a range tools to understand and better manage these behaviours. 

What will you learn?

This one day course has been designed to help public service organisations understand the different types of defensive behaviours that arise from difficult conversations. It also encourages you to think more productively about how these behaviours can be dealt with.

As an attendee in this programme, you will learn how to have productive conversations about:

  • managing demand with less resource;
  • achieving higher targets while saving money;
  • implementing change in a completely new way and introducing agile ways of working;
  • reducing the headcount;
  • dealing with poor personal performance;
  • improving customer service with less staff; and
  • moving to new delivery models, sometimes outside of the organisation.

The course focuses on the eight common defence mechanisms and provides a masterclass on how to manage ‘within’ and ‘around’ such difficult behaviours to achieve change.

How will you benefit?

You will develop your confidence in having challenging conversations and be equipped with tactics on how to manage defensive behaviours.  This could include conversations with team members, colleagues, critical stakeholders or partners. You will learn powerful practical skills based on Chris Argyris’ method of productive reasoning, which has been used by multi-national organisations like Microsoft. Using our previous learning with public sector clients, we’ve developed this method specifically for organisations delivering public services. You will also learn about our ‘breaking the shell’ method for unblocking barriers to change, and change navigation – better change management from our own primary research into successful transformation in public services.

Who is it for?

This course is designed for senior leaders, service managers and team managers who lead teams in delivering services. This includes services from local government, healthcare, probation and housing associations. 

What do previous attendees say

[I enjoyed the] ‘Simulation activity where you were challenged to put your learning into practice. Using the film as a basis for discussing defence mechanisms.’

‘The content and the activities all fitted together very well. I liked the breaking the shell exercise - we will use it. Once again, another excellent course in the whole series. Great discussions, content, clips and activities - thank you!’

‘Nice balance between theory + exercise. Very good that followed slides, made it easier to follow. Also I loved the use of film, as it gave real application in a very interesting + memorable way.’

‘Gives me more confidence now in doing my job + dealing with curveballs.’

‘The DVD I felt was a new and powerful tool to understand defence mechanisms.’

‘I liked the diverse interactive simulation. Productive reasoning was very interesting and I feel that it can be used in both professional and non-work-related situations.’

‘It gave me a lot of think about how I came across. It really expands your way of thinking and it challenged me about what I already knew’

About your trainer

Dennis Vergne is a Managing Partner and founder of RedQuadrant. Dennis has worked with a diverse range of public sector organisations for over fifteen years and is an internationally recognised expert in organisational change management.  His recent experience includes leading on staff engagement (including TUPE processes) and organisational design for two joint ventures between councils and a private sector firm, each involving 300-400 people.

The investment

This one day course costs £275 (excluding VAT). Group discounts are avaialble, and further savings can be made if booked as part of the entire Service Transformation Programme.


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Or email training@redquadrant.com for more information