#57: Coaching with Costas: Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People

In this third episode of “Coaching with Costas”, we discuss how to deal with difficult people.

Below are the main highlights of our chat:


  • “Difficult” means different things to different people.


  • “Difficult people” represent challenges or risks to our wellbeing, our career path and our progress. It is natural to feel stress hormones rising when dealing with difficult people or difficult situations. Remember to be kind to yourself in these situations.


  • It is important to separate the behaviour from the person. Labelling people as “difficult” is usually not helpful. All in all, we deal with difficult behaviours rather than difficult people.


  • Try and understand what it is about a certain behaviour that is causing you less than full satisfaction in your work life. Then, try to figure out what it is that drives that behaviour in the first place.


  • Ask yourself: “how can I grow and learn from this experience?”


  • Dealing with difficult behaviour can be the source of your growth as a leader. After all, some of the most trusted relationships are built in difficult situations.


  • Move towards the conflict rather than run from it, and seek common understanding.


  • Communication is always the answer, but “how” and “when” is the key. Figure out whether it is a one-off incident or a consistent pattern, and make a decision as to how and when to do something about it.


  • The most important thing is to change how you describe things. Avoid confrontational terminology. You don’t have to beat the other side or beat them.

  • Keep in mind that you are likely to be somebody else’s “difficult person”. You may display behaviour that other people find difficult.


  • Use inclusive language if you are going to communicate to the other person about some of the difficulties (e.g. use “we” instead of “you”)


Our Guest: Costas Kalisperas

Costas Kalisperas photo

Costas is the Founder & CEO of In Tune Executive Coaching. His focus is on helping leaders to be in tune with themselves and their environment, tap into their inner resourcefulness and manage their interactions with others more effectively. To know more about Costas, please visit any of the links below.


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