How it Works



Changing the world, one conversation at a time

Business gets done mostly through conversations. So if you improve the quality of your conversations, you’ll improve the quality of your business, and you’ll likely get better business results. Improving the quality of those conversations is at the heart of almost all of AlexanderHancock Associates training, and doing so requires managers to learn not just concepts but also a specific set of conversation skills. But how do we teach those skills in a way that changes learners’ behavior permanently? How does this method work? We’re glad you asked.

Change is easy. Lasting change, though, is hard. Our research and the research of experts during the past 30 years (augmented more recently by research in neuroscience, including brain scans) has shown that much greater and more permanent change in behavior occurs when several factors are present:

  • The practice situations are real-life situations the participant currently faces, not “case study” creations.
  • The participant does not “play a role” but is himself/herself.
  • The role of the participant’s direct report is played by a trained, expert facilitator.
  • The interaction is video-recorded so that the participants and some of their peers (typically groups of four, each with a facilitator) can truly see themselves as others see them – objectively, without filters or bias. This Aha! moment, a shock to the system, usually is necessary to bring about lasting change, the research suggests.
  • Participants focus not only on what they say, but also how they say it.
  • The feedback is specific, direct, pointed, and honest.
  • The participant has multiple opportunities to practice “getting it right.”
  • The participant’s organization reinforces the new skill set in multiple ways.


Course framework

In person, our courses usually are composed of two intensive days (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) of training, about two-two thirds of which is spent in the breakout video groups for hands-on learning. The rest of the course includes discussion and live or video demonstrations. (Courses delivered online can be scheduled more flexibly.) Each participant receives a guidebook that contains tips on and examples of the three types of conversations taught. Our research, and the research of other experts, indicates that greater learning reinforcement occurs when participants have more than one opportunity to practice, and when skill levels build over time.


How the courses work

During full-class discussion, we introduce participants to the skills required to have each of the three kinds of conversations the course covers. We walk them through these conversations and provide demonstrations, either recorded or live-action.

Then, in the video labs, participants engage in intensive practices of the key conversations with a trained facilitator/coach. Their practices are video-recorded, and the videos are played back with the coach and a small group of peers. Each participant receives individualized feedback, coaching and guidance from the coach and peers.  This unique combination of self-awareness, practice, coaching, and feedback develops skills and commitment and leads to lasting changes in how participants have critically important conversations – and thus leads to lasting business results.


Preparing for the course

Before the course, each participant will review his or her own performance and identify with his/her manager areas to be improved.  Each participant will also prepare case scenarios based on real situations for each of the three video lab sessions. AlexanderHancock will provide a template for generating case scenarios.  In this way managers will get immediate impact from applying the skills to real situations.

In addition, before the course, each participant’s direct reports (where applicable) are surveyed anonymously regarding their manager’s performance in certain areas. Each participant receives their individual results before the course, and numerical averages provide a baseline indicator of participants’ performance. The direct reports are surveyed again up to a year after the course, and results are compared with baseline data to determine to what extent the manager’s performance changed and maintained that change over time.


Sustaining the skills

At the end of each course, participants will commit to a specific assignment regarding the application of skills learned.  AlexanderHancock Associates consultants will be available by telephone or email to consult with participants after their sessions. We will also consult with you regarding opportunities for reinforcement and follow-up within your organization.

Want to learn more?

Contact us at 704.892.5097 or email to find out more about how we can bring about lasting change through improved conversations in your organization.