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Dealing with difficult people

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An article by Lucy Seifert Life Coach London
  • Do you know any difficult people? 
  • People who are angry and aggressive, bullying and blaming, defensive or evasive, jokers or know-it-alls? 
  • Maybe you know someone who is moody and manipulative?

How can coaching help in dealing with anger, conflict & difficult people

Do recognise the difficult people below? Coaching offers you the space to talk freely about your concerns, and helps you explore strategies and learn skills to deal with difficult behaviours and situations in your life. You may wish to manage your own anger more positively or cope with others’ anger or difficult emotions, such as annoyance, disappointment, anxiety or upset. Discover how you approach conflict, if you’re a shark, turtle, teddy bear, fox or an owl, and consider creative solutions.

Types of Difficult People:

There are so many difficult behaviours, and many strategies and skills to confront them!  Looking at your options with confidence and assertiveness will help you manage the difficult people in your life. Let’s look at a few you might meet day to day, with some helpful starting points.

Anger and Conflict

Anger and conflict can be destructive, yet anger channelled constructively can lead to positive change while conflict well-handled can clear the air and create more enduring relationships. When people are angry they need time to vent. Only then can they move on. Avoid addressing difficulties at the height or your and others’ emotions are at their height; best to sleep on it, then think about what you want to gain.


Bullying can be a devastating experience and bully behaviours range from subtle to downright threatening. Bullies chip away at your confidence and self-esteem, putting down what you do & offering no praise, deriding your work yet taking credit for what you do well, watching over your shoulder and leaving you no space for creativity. How can you know it is happening?

You are likely to experience symptoms of severe stress, headaches, sleeplessness, forgetfulness and a wish not to go into work.


Indecision can be highly frustrating. People may say “I don’t mind” to be nice, but the reality is they are dumping all the decisions on to you. This can be simple questions like “Do you want tea or coffee” to personal choices about annual holidays and work issues about policy. So make it clear you want to know what they want rather than taking decisions on their behalf, no matter how small.


Manipulation is one of the hardest to deal with. Why? It’s because it’s so hard to recognise. You may get a feeling something isn’t quite right, but can’t put your finger on it. Manipulators use all kind of artistry and trickery from sarcasm to false flattery to get you to do something you don’t want to do against your better judgement. So what can you do about it?

“You’re so good at this. No one can do it as well as you can”. A clever ploy, as flattery is so irresistible. “No one else would agree with you”, to isolate you so you change your mind. Step one is to recognise you’re being manipulated.

Nosey Parkers

Nosey questions are embarrassing. Some people love delving into your personal and work life, asking you questions like “Where do you live?” “How much do you earn?” “Are you dating?” “How old are you?” “What’s your phone number?” So is it the person, the question or the way each of us views things that is nosey? One person is fine saying where they live and their age, or what they do for a living, while someone else will reel in horror.

So first be aware of what kinds of questions you’re willing to answer and in what situations. It’s up to you to set your own boundaries as to the type of information you give away.

Sulking and the Silent Treatment

Sulkers won’t talk when they’re unhappy about something but rather go into a long drawn out silence. Some genuinely can’t find the words to talk or feel too emotional to talk things over. Others resort to the Silent Treatment, an aggressive form of silence designed to make you feel bad.

Try showing some understanding initially, your interest and willingness to listen when they feel ready to talk. If it continues, express how you feel affected by their behaviour. “I’m concerned about you and I’m ready to listen when you feel like talking”, while prolonged Silent Treatment requires a more confronting approach.

The Next Step

Coaching is a positive, non-judgemental way of achieving positive change. Why not have a free, no-obligation chat about your situation? Please do contact me to arrange a mutually convenient time to talk.

During coaching, we can discuss ways to confront difficult behaviours and resolve issues between you and how to manage where realistically a resolution will prove hard to come by. Come through knowing you did your best and above all preserved your integrity.

Plus, if you want more information, please request my Newsletter about Difficult People – Nosey Parkers - and any others which look interesting to you. Click here to see the full range of titles and to sign up to receive them in future.

North London and Long Distance

Whilst I am based in North London, location is not an issue as coaching is available via mobile and by Skype (video and audio) as well as in person. No matter where in the world you are, we can work together thanks to the possibilities offered by Skype video and voice calls, which are free.
Whether you live overseas or are travelling in Europe, the Americans, Asia or Australasia, Africa or the Middle East, we can ‘meet’ for coaching sessions without leaving the privacy of your home, office or university premises.

I offer Life Coaching and 1-2-1 Training in person at my comfortable London office overlooking a tropical garden. The office is near Golders Green & Finchley in North London and is local to North West London including Barnet, Camden, Edgware, Finchley, Hampstead, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Harrow, Hendon, Highgate, Muswell Hill, Pinner, Southgate, Stanmore, St John's Wood and Swiss Cottage. I can also be easily reached from north, south, east and west London via the A406 North Circular Road, Finchley Road and A1000, which runs from Hertfordshire to Oxford Street. Accessible from Borehamwood, Elstree, Hadley, Hertford, Radlett, St. Albans (Hertfordshire).  I also offer Life Coaching and Executive Coaching on the telephone and by Skype or a combination of all three.
Contact me - Lucy Seifert Life Coach London - today on
Tel: 07956 663151
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