Dealing with Difficult People or Opinionated People

Navigating Tough Conversations

Hand shake

Conflict Resolution

Develop the skills and strategies you need to handle difficult conversations and challenging personalities.

Emotional Intelligence

Learn EQ techniques for responding to difficult people in ways that are both effective and respectful.

Navigate Conversations

Build confidence in handling difficult conversations by learning control and composure when you're stressed.

Refine your communication skills by learning to harness your emotional intelligence with one of the UK's most acclaimed management training courses.

Why Choose This Training?

More Than Just A Course Of Lectures

What gets in the way of developing and holding on to new communication skills are old habits of thinking and speaking. Even if the advice is very good the reason why it rarely sticks are the mental habits people inevitably revert to, especially under pressure.

Unlearning those old habits and internalising a more effective and lasting approach to communication needs more than a short course of lectures on how to do it.

What Makes This Training Stand Out?

What makes this training stand out is the exceptional support through one-to-one coaching sessions and continuous feedback. Changing behaviour is not an easy task as old habits are hard to break.

With a 40-year track record we can help you cultivate practical skills, and build your confidence to so you can successfully navigate real-world challenges, ensuring lasting behavioural improvements. 


Join thousands of participants getting results

"What I love about this course is that I didn't just learn about the topic, this course is about ME.  I'm confident I can reliably use my new skills, even when under pressure".

5 stars

A Project Manager At A Tech Company

"A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listening with empathy" and "speaking assertively"

5 stars

A Project Quality Engineer

Clients We Have Worked With

Well-known companies who have used this course again and again, over many years

  • Amgen 3
  • BBC
  • aunt bessies
  • Cargill 2
  • Heinz Logo 3
  • Civil service
  • NHS 2
  • Kelloggs Logo 2
  • IGT
  • JM 4 copy
  • Schweppes 3 logo
  • Castrol 3
  • Dewhirst 2
  • avon logo png
  • Nestle Logo
  • RSPB Logo 2022
  • Shell
  • UNHCR 3
  • unilever 2
  • BP 2
  • FBN 2

Course Summary

Training Objectives

This course is designed to help you develop your skills at dealing with difficult, opinionated or frustrated people. You'll learn a combination of skills to effectively handle difficult people at work, including understanding the underlying causes of difficult behaviour and developing good communication skills. On this course you will focus on developing your empathy, assertiveness and emotional intelligence, as well as conflict resolution strategies to manage difficult situations.

Emotional Intelligence

You will learn a set of powerful emotional intelligence communication techniques so that you can manage difficult conversations, handle challenging situations, build relationships and set firm boundaries.

Transferable Skills

The goal of this training is to equip you with the tools they need to build strong, lasting relationships in your professional life, although because these skills are so transferable many clients report vast improvements in their personal relationships as well.

Develop Skills

This is a skills development rather than just a theoretical programme, so the emphasis throughout will be on you taking turn after turn, practising your skills, while receiving feedback and coaching about your effect on others.

Repeated Practice and Feedback

In your coaching sessions you will be helped to practise dealing with the kinds of situation you find challenging, again and again, until you are confident you can do it successfully.

Video Analysis

We'll combine practical, hands-on experience with video replay and analysis and discussion of the principles involved to help you gain both skills and understanding. Special attention is paid to your individual training needs, so you can practise your skills in real-life situations that you have to handle at work.

Sustained Change

That's why as well as your place in a small group, this training includes a generous amount of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions online, spread over several months, ensuring an exceptional level of support. This will ensure the changes you make are sustained over a longer period of time and any obstacles are overcome. Choose between online training available worldwide, or in-person face-to-face courses in the UK.

Course Dates and Price

For a list of upcoming course dates (for online coaching and face-to-face training), the locations of the next 3-day public courses in the UK and pricing Click here.

Free Initial Session

This initial coaching session serves as an introduction to the "Skills with People" course, allowing you to understand the course's relevance and effectiveness for your specific needs before committing to it.

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People who feel understood are more receptive

What makes this training so effective?

Discover the exact steps you need to confidently deal with people being difficult

For more than 40 years we have specialised in training managers, leaders and professionals how to become more skilled at dealing with difficult people. We include a combination of skills that could help you more effectively handle difficult people in the workplace and create a more positive and productive work environment. Here's why this training is so effective;-

  • You'll learn how to understand the underlying causes of difficult behaviour and the various personality types that can cause challenges in the workplace. This includes learning about passive-aggression, manipulation, and other negative behaviours.
  • You'll learn you develop good communication skills which are essential when dealing with difficult people. This training course will focus on techniques such as active listening, assertiveness, and conflict resolution.
  • You'll learn to develop your empathy and emotional intelligence skills to understand the perspectives of others and respond appropriately to their needs. You'll also learn about emotional regulation and how to manage your own emotions in challenging situations.
  • You'll learn conflict resolution strategies and techniques to help you resolve conflicts in a constructive and respectful manner.
  • You'll practice real-life situations helps you to understand and apply the skills and techniques you are learning. Role-playing and simulations provide a safe environment for you to practice and develop your skills.
  • This training course will also cover the importance of understanding different perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds to enhance your skills in dealing with difficult people. Misunderstanding and misinterpretations are likely if there is a clash of cultural expectations. Once you are aware of this possibility you can swiftly handle it.
  • Because dealing with difficult people is a skill that requires continuous development and refinement you will receive opportunities for ongoing learning and practice through workshops, mentorship, and one-to-one coaching.

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Stand up for your ideas and also respect theirs

Is this the right training course for you?

Yes, if the following ring a bell ...

  • You hate confict and try to avoid it if you can.
  • But sometimes to avoid conflict you find yourself giving in to difficult or opinionated people in the workplace
  • You'd feel better if you could stand up for what you feel is right, but you need to know how to do it gracefully and without making things worse.
  • You don't seem to be able to deal successfully with difficult or opinionated people, and sometimes you don't see why you should have to.
  • You find it very hard to have to cope with and respond to difficult people, whether they're customers, peers, subordinates, bosses, or suppliers.
  • You find difficult customers the hardest to handle, because they become so emotional when things go wrong, as if their life depends on it. It's very hard having a rational conversation with someone in that state of mind.
  • It's doubly difficult dealing with people who are being negative, because it's not just their feelings you have to cope with but also your own.
  • You would like to be able to deal more calmly with disruptive people and angry people, because if you're attack back you only make matters worse.
  • It would be great to be able to turn trouble makers into cooperative allies.
  • When dealing with difficult people you need to be able to stand firm but in a way that avoids confrontation.

Discover the two crucial emotional intelligence skills every successful leader needs for rapidly calming people down and putting them in a more receptive frame of mind

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Proven training for managers, leaders and professionals 

Now by involving people he takes them with him

Meet the trainers - Audio clip (20 minutes)

Listen to a discussion about how to deal with difficult people
e.g. a difficult or demanding boss 


Are you stressed and worried
about how to deal with people when they get frustrated?


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What you'll take away from this course

Might your need to be more successful at dealing with difficult or opinionated people be met by this
London UK based management training course called Skills with People?

You'll have the understanding, skills and confidence to deal with difficult or opinionated people in a way that gets through to them and gets the best out of them.

We'll help you develop your emotional intelligence and gain useful insights into why people are being difficult.

You'll have the confidence to stand up for yourself, and to speak your mind.

You'll be able to provide good quality, honest feedback with integrity.

Are you a manager, leader or a professional looking to develop your skills at handling difficult behaviour?

Arrange a free initial coaching session and we'll show you how - now!

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Learn how to tune in to others and enable them to tune in to you

A practical guide - How to deal with difficult people

How emotional intelligence can help you manage difficult or opinionated people more successfully

What's a constructive way of dealing with difficult people?

Instead of trying to squash them, find out what's behind their being difficult - what they really want. It may be that making trouble is their only way of drawing attention to a problem that needs to be addressed. Address the problem and they'll probably have no more need to make trouble.

For dealing constructively with trouble makers you need to be good at listening with empathy. It's one of the two main skills we'll help you master.

Why are people ‘difficult' or opinionated?

We can all be difficult when we're under pressure. It's human nature. When we feel bad, e.g., afraid, misunderstood, anxious, we automatically go into attack or defense mode, the fight or flight response. We become ‘difficult'. It's a survival instinct. This doesn't only happening to the people you perceive as ‘difficult'. It's what sometimes happens to you, too. Scratch the surface and we're all similar in this respect.

When a human being's negative emotions are aroused he tenses up, both mentally and physically. He becomes ‘difficult'. This means irrational, deaf to reason, closed minded, uncooperative, making complaints, dissenting, disagreeable, unreceptive, stubborn, aggressive, hostile, disruptive, resentful, discordant, angry, unwilling to change. He can't help it. When he feels under threat his emotions are like an internal alarm system alerting him to protect himself – though he may not be aware of it.

The first step in dealing with difficult people is, instead of being afraid of them or angry with them, to be aware that they are in a defensive and self-protective state of mind. If you had the power to change their state of mind they'd no longer need to be difficult. You do have much more power to influence people's states if mind than you may have realised, and on this course we'll help you learn how to use it.

What keeps people in this ‘difficult' or opinionated state of mind?

The answer is bottled-up emotion. The quickest way to help someone be less difficult is to help them discharge their pent-up emotional energy – express their feelings – let off steam. Animals don't hold on to fear. They express it immediately by fight or flight, and it's gone. They rapidly recover their ability to function. Human beings have the same set of instincts, but human society trains us to bottle up emotion, suppress it, hide it, deny it. The result is we often get stuck in a difficult and dysfunctional frame of mind.

When you're dealing with difficult people in the workplace how can you change their state of mind?

The answer is – you can help them let off steam. How can you do this? Not by arguing, but by listening with empathy. This isn't easy to do, because when people are difficult with us the natural impulse is to be difficult back. So you may need coaching, and that's what we can give you on our course.

But below, in a nutshell, are some simple guidelines about how to do it. Why not start experimenting with it the next time you have to deal with a difficult person?

But doesn't this approach clash with what society teaches us?

This approach certainly goes against the grain for many of us, because we have been brought up to fear and suppress feelings: "There, there, don't cry", "Pull yourself together", "Let's be rational – let's not get emotional". Behind these common phrases is a belief that there is something wrong with admitting and expressing feelings, that the more we express a bad feeling the worse we feel, that if we stop expressing it we will feel better, and that the best way to stop people being irrational is to discourage them from expressing feelings.

But like many of the beliefs that hold us back from expressing ourselves, this is a mistake. Much nearer the truth is the following: Bottling up feelings makes us less, not more, rational. The more we can admit and express feelings the more rational we are able to be. If we want to influence and persuade people who are being difficult and resistant - if we want to make them more receptive to new ideas and to change – we need to encourage them to express their feelings and let off steam.

Here's a set of simple practical guidelines...
... about how to listen with empathy when you are dealing with difficult people or opinionated people

Pay very close attention to the person you're trying to influence. Try to identify and reflect back as accurately as you can the following three things:-

  • How they feel (Try to name their feeling, e.g., “You don't look too happy,” “I imagine you must be frustrated”, “You seem upset/angry”.)
  • What the feeling is about (What specific event or experience are they reacting to? What has happened?)
  • Why they are reacting this way (What specific need, belief or difficulty of theirs is making them react this way? In other words, what really matters to them?)

Then pause and keep paying attention, giving them time to let off steam, time to think, and time to say more. When they do say more, repeat the process. Often when you succeed in making someone feel understood they respond with a spontaneous, “Exactly!” That's when they begin to calm down and become less difficult.

Is listening with empathy all it takes when dealing with difficult people or opinionated people?

No, but it goes a long way, and you will find it very rewarding. The other skill you need is being assertive (not aggressive). These two skills are at the heart of this training course about dealing with difficult people or opinionated people, called "Skills with People". The course enables you to master them both and use them together to handle the situations you find most challenging at work.

For more information on this website relevant to dealing with difficult people you might also find our pages dealing with difficult behaviour, influencing & persuasion skills training and emotional intelligence relevant and helpful.

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Free exploratory coaching session

The first session is free so you're not committing yourself until you're sure this training is relevant for you. You will also learn something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work.

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