How Role Playing Can Help You Keep Your Cool

BY Jessica Helinski
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The path in sales is never completely smooth, and how you react in a crisis can impact your reputation and future success. Self-​coaching is a valuable skill that can help you get through tough situations, all while remaining professional and level-​headed. In a recent article, coaching expert Ed Batista shares advice on how to keep cool (and productive) during a conflict. While his advice directly targets leaders, his suggestions may also be helpful to reps.

Below are a couple of highlights:

Emotion Regulation and Disclosure

Passions likely will run high during difficult times, but you need to be mindful about what emotions you share (and with whom you share them). But, being careful does not mean don’t share at all. Batista notes it's vital to share feelings and frustrations, even for leaders — and one should do so without fear or self-​regulation. The key is finding the right person to listen. “Having access to people we trust who aren’t personally invested in the success or failure of our organization is essential so that we can fully acknowledge the stress and anxiety we feel,” he writes. “Candid conversations with trusted allies make it easier to manage difficult emotions in more public settings.”


Most likely, the tough times you face will involve some tough, but necessary, conversations. Don’t avoid these conversations. Instead, prepare yourself by doing a bit of role-​playing before communicating. Doing this won’t help you predict the outcome, nor should you role-​play to “rehearse” lines. “The real value of role-​playing a difficult conversation is that it simulates the emotional state we’re likely to experience in the actual interaction, so that we’re better prepared to manage ourselves while in the grip of those feelings,” Batista explains. Find a trusted ally and truly invest in the role-​playing scenario; its value may surprise you.

No one is expected to remain stoic and unfeeling during times of conflict. But, both sales reps and leaders should strive to maintain their professionalism when dealing with strong emotions. Batista's tips will prepare you to proceed mindfully the next time you face a crisis.