How to Agreeably Disagree in 4 Steps

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    In today’s business world, it is imperative to be able to disagree with tact and professionalism. My coaching clients find themselves in situations where they disagree with others, yet need to rely on these same people to get work done. The way you tell someone that you disagree really matters. Agreeably Disagree is a helpful technique that lets you disagree with someone without damaging the relationship.

    Here are 4 Steps to Agreeably Disagree:

    1. Listen – avoid cutting people off. Never tell them they are wrong – hear them out.

    2. Acknowledge the other person’s idea/opinion/point of view by saying something like:

    “I hear what you are saying”

    “You have some points that make sense”

    “I have not thought about it that way”

    “That is an interesting perspective”

    “I can see why you see it that way”

    “I understand why you say that”

    “I hear where you are coming from”

    Be aware of your body language. Your words need to be congruent with your actions. If you roll your eyes while acknowledging, they will not believe that you are earnest.

    3. Pause briefly. Use silence effectively. Do not start out with “but, however, nevertheless”. These negative filler words will negate the fact that you are trying to hear them out. They often put people on the defensive and break down the communication.

    4. State your idea/opinion/point of view by starting out with something like:

    “In my experience, I…”

    “My understanding is different. I …”

    “Have you considered…”

    “What about…”

    “The literature/evidence says…”

    “Because of …, I think…”

    “The data I collected shows…”

    Be sure to include evidence, facts, examples, personal experience, or data to substantiate your viewpoint.

    By using the Agreeably Disagree technique, you preserve and strengthen the relationship by showing the other person that you heard them and respect them – even when you disagree.

    For more resources, see the Library topic Personal and Professional Coaching.


    Pam Solberg-Tapper MHSA, PCC – I spark entrepreneurial business leaders to set strategy, take action, and get results. How can I help you? Contact me at ~ Linkedin ~ 218-340-3330