Engaging in Difficult Conversations with Employees

From providing negative feedback to discussing medical accommodations and terminations, difficult conversations occur frequently in the workplace. Administrators are often asked to navigate these conversations without formal training or any guidance regarding their legal responsibilities to employees. In this two week intensive course, participants will develop the skill sets needed to have difficult conversations and learn techniques to improve communication in the workplace. Participants will also explore the elements of verbal and non-verbal communication that affect the way employees receive and process information during interactions with administrators. Those who complete the course will walk away with clear guidance regarding their legal obligations in difficult workplace conversations and be able to identify when a workplace conversation needs to be brought to the attention of the head of school or school’s counsel. Taught asynchronously over two weeks through videos and reading, participants will benefit from online discussion of the topics with the instructor and peers and role plays which exemplify common difficult conversations for school administrators.

This course is being offered in partnership between NBOA and One Schoolhouse.

Course Schedule

Week 1

Approaching a Difficult Conversation

In the first week of the course, you will discover why empathetic communication skills are essential when having difficult conversations and will begin learning to plan for and engage in a difficult conversation. You’ll also learn about some of the challenges you may face when engaging in a difficult conversation with others and strategies for overcoming these obstacles. Conversation examples this week will include disciplinary conversations and a confrontation with an untruthful employee.

Week 2

Empathy Without Exposure

In the second week of the course, you will learn about the legal risks inherent to difficult conversations and how to mitigate these risks while accomplishing your goals. You will sharpen your communication skills and learn more advanced techniques that will allow you to approach conversations confidently. Conversation examples this week will include a teacher with a personal emergency, a request for a medical accommodation, and an employee termination.


SHRM Information

Credit Hours: 12

Category: Critical Evaluation

NBOA is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.


HRCI Information

Credit Hours: 12

Category: HR (General)

NBOA is a recognized provider of recertification credits. HR Certification Institute® pre-approved this program for credits towards aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification.


Email programs@nboa.org or call 202-407-7140


Oct 11 - Oct 22, 2021


Jan 10 - Jan 21, 2022


Jul 11 - Jul 22, 2022


Cancellation and refund policies




Group discount available

Time Commitment

6-8 hours per week for 2 weeks

Learn more about the platform and coursework

Class Size

Up to 30 participants

Recommended Audience

  • HR professionals
  • Business officers
  • School leaders
  • Administrators with personnel management responsibilities