Navigating the C-IQ Conversational Dashboard for Effective Interactions

In Converation with the Safety Collaborators Podcast

Episode 043

Sep 6, 2023

In this episode...we bring you the wisdom of the C-IQ Conversational Dashboard.

How do we move from 'I' to 'WE', from the resistor to co-creator, and from protect to partner at work and in life? And why do we bother?  

Because we want to build shared trust, enable knowledge flow, and seek alignment?

We want to have an easier life, that is why.  

In this episode of the C-IQ Conversational Intelligence series, we bring you the wisdom of the C-IQ Conversational Dashboard. We explore how we pivot from low to high trust and what the impact is on individuals and our teams. 

Recap of the previous episodes 

  1. E038_we introduced you to C-IQ and shared the LEARN activity
  2. E039_we looked at the 5 Essentials of Conversational Intelligence
  3. E040_we dove into the 3 Levels of Conversations, 
  4. E041_foundations of trust, and 
  5. E042_we covered the neuroscience of conversations 

Let's bring it all together under the umbrella of the Conversational Dashboard.

The Conversational Dashboard is another of our favourite C-IQ tools. We use it a lot.

And it's a lovely way to help teams visualise how they might feel as individuals and then as a group. It helps us to visualise levels of trust and where we're operating from. And to create the conversations around those feelings and levels of trust.

It is pretty complex, in reality, but when we look at it, it sort of makes sense. But of course, as with any of these tools, or when it comes to how we are as human beings, it's far more complex than the image gives us. 

C-IQ Conversational Dashboard coloured image.

Essentially, the Dashboard is an arc that helps us visualise how you or others might feel. It helps gauge your or others' levels of trust in those feelings and the impact this might have on your conversations and how you work with others. 

Dashboard Words

  • Resistor - not feeling in alignment, creating resistance 
  • Sceptic - out of alignment, raising doubt
  • Wait & See - waiting for others before committing
  • Experimentor - desires to experiment
  • Co-creator - builds new meaning

You will see that you move through the arc of the Dashboard, and where one positions oneself on the Dashboard highlights from which level of Trust a person is operating. 

In essence, when operating from a place of resistance/scepticism, the left side (red) section of the arc, we operate from the more primitive side (back of our head) of our brain where distrust lives. When our distrust is triggered, we start to think of how we can protect ourselves, and we move to protect mode and operate from a position of low trust. 

Moving to the arc's right-hand (green) side to experimenter/co-creator, we now operate from our prefrontal cortex or executive brain (front of our head), where high trust lives. We become open to opportunities when we operate from High Trust and move into partnering mode.

When we are in the centre of the arc (orange-yellow), we operate from conditional trust—literally sitting on the fence waiting and seeing what others are doing or not. 

So, how do we move ourselves from self-protection into partnering with others? 

Scenario (listen 6.06)

Imagine you are in a meeting with a room full of people. Some people are sitting in their chairs, having their arms crossed and leaning back. You could assume they are working from some level of resistance, scepticism, hesitating, waiting and checking out what others are saying or doing, and not trusting too much. 

You may see other people in the same meeting who think whatever's going on in this discussion is fantastic. And they're leaning forward, probably bright-eyed, and probably looking up at whoever's speaking. 

In this scenario, you will have people operating from low to conditional to high trust, all in the same meeting. You might be one of those people, so ask yourself, are you going to be resistant or ready to engage and experiment with the ideas, etc., that are being presented? 

One way to use the Dashboard is to set it up as a visual gauge at the beginning of the meeting or event and ask how people feel. Ask people to consider where they are on the Dashboard and what it would take to move them along if they are not in the 'green' zone. 

It is an excellent way to gauge where everyone is in the 'room' and help make the invisible visible. 

What level of trust do you have with the group, or do they have with you or each other? What is needed to move the conversation forward? 

A good starting point is to Prime for Trust and, importantly, to listen for what is being said and not being said. 

When people operate from the 'I' perspective and low trust, they move into protect mode and potentially close themselves down from opportunity, progression and innovation. 

The further people operate from the right and high trust, the more chance they will work together and co-create, generate ideas, be innovative and open up for opportunities. 

Questions to think about:

What conversational behaviours you may have observed or even participated in? 

When do you operate from the left side of the arc versus the right side? 

It is worth mentioning that there is no expectation or goal that everyone has to be in experimenter or co-creator mode, that there needs to be immediate cohesion and that every idea is great, far from it; instead, how do you create the space for healthy dissent and healthy debate? 

It is essential to create a space for people to become comfortable giving their ideas because they know they will be heard; even if the idea is not great, they will be acknowledged and build trust in moving forward. 

Using the C-IQ Dashboard will help you to build psychological safety. 

Conversational Dashboard and the 3 Levels of Conversation

(listen 09:49)

Let's review the actual words from a C-IQ perspective.

Table of the Conversational Dashboard 6 key words

Resistance suggests that we do not feel alignment. Scepticism means we are out of alignment and coming from a place of doubt. Wait & See is where we wait and see what the other person(s) say and what the others in the room commit to. 

Experimentor means something here is triggering the desire to move forward and do something together. Co-creation suggests we are ready to build new meaning. 

We start at one point and potentially end up in a new place.

During this process, different levels of conversation are occurring. In E040, We shared the 3 Levels of Conversation, and when you overlay that with the Conversation Dashboard, you can see how conversations and conversational style impact the levels of trust.

The C_IQ Conversational Dashboard overlayed with the Conversational Matrix

When you are in a Level I conversation, which is transactional, it is all about giving information and is characterised by low trust. At this level, there tends to be more telling than asking, which tends to be operating from the left side of the arc. Level II conversational style is around the middle of the arc and more positional about inquiry and persuasion.

When we move over to the right of the arc, we see and hear more of the Level III style of conversations, which is more about sharing and discovery together, building new meaning, all of which tends to come from a place of high trust. 

Each of the conversational styles is important. For example, when we resist change, often it is because we don't have enough information. We don't know enough. Sometimes, people need more information, which may be very transactional in nature; however, it will help them move around the arc and feel safer to ask questions and then move forward. 

Think about somebody new to the industry; they might resist all the safety rules and regulations. First, they will need more information to help them become more informed, to be able to move to the next level and become less resistant. In fact, when this is done well, the person will start to advocate and inquire and then become part of the solution and help others to have the right conversations.  

How to self-manage as Leaders and Team members

(listen 12:35)

When leaders and team members have conversations with each other, how do we know that we are having the right conversation for the right moment to help move people along or help the team move in the direction it wants to grow? But we also have to look at ourselves. 

So, how do we self-manage our emotions and where we are on that Dashboard? When do you need to downregulate and up-regulate the hormone cocktail going on within? 

"You might be coming into a room and not feeling great today. You sit there and feel a little resistant to whatever's going on. You don't want another meeting, You don't want to be part of this or that, and why do you need another safety conversation, etc. "

So, how do you provide people with the tools to self-manage? 

First, you must look inward and consider what you need to move yourself out of this mood. How can you move the mood of resistance? How might you move into sharing your vulnerability at this time?  

In previous episodes, we discussed the role of the cortisol and oxytocin hormones. When we are in a mood of resistance or scepticism, we tend to have higher levels of cortisol running through our body, which impacts our moods and clarity—this could be due to fear or uncertainty about what is happening around us. 

One way to help down-regulate your cortisol is to look for joy or happy moments; even just thinking happy thoughts will help you to up-regulate your oxytocin levels. Another way might be to look for a friendly face to talk with that will help you feel better and more in control of your feelings. 

Look at the Dashboard and consider from which side you are operating. If from the left, what will it take to move you to the right? That 5 minutes of consideration makes all the difference in the world to you and others around you.

Combining the Tools

(listen 15:34)

Throughout the series, we have looked at Priming for Trust, The Conversational Essentials, the Foundations of Trust, and the Conversational Matrix, the levels I, II, and III conversational styles. All of these tools, combined with the Dashboard, help you self-manage to up and down-regulate for yourself and others. 

How we have and do use the Dashboard. 

Listen to how we use these tools (16.04)

We love the Dashboard and have used it in many ways. Sometimes, it is quite a complex discussion, and other times, it is elementary. We might build on this by starting with just the arc and the words, then building in the trust levels, next the protect and partnering modes, then how to listen and use the conversational matrix through to the wisdom of the 6 brains and chemical cocktails. 

Or we may use the arc with many emoticons to do mood and emotion check-ins at the beginning of a shift, team meeting, etc. This can be done anonymously through a Google form with a QR code or magnets on a whiteboard. It is a great way to take out the guesswork on how you think people are doing. 

You may gather quantitative data to give you a sense and then the opportunity to have qualitative conversations to help build trust and belonging. 

More importantly, it will help you to build a picture of what needs to be done to foster inclusion and a learning culture. 

It would be best if you did not think that everything has to be perfect or sunshine and roses because that is not life; instead, there will be times of resistance, and yes, there will be things no one likes doing, and that's life. But what you can do is learn how to move from resistance to choice. That sits with you, and you can use these tools to help. 

Call to Action Image

How do we move from I to We

(listen 20.10)

So often, when we are on the resistor/sceptic side of the arc, it is because we feel alone, we have to do it, or we feel everything is being done to us instead of we are in this together and finding ways to do things better. These tools can help you. 

Collaborating is better—co-creating, experimenting, and finding better ways to get things done. Sure, not everyone's going to agree on the chosen path fully. But the key is leaving the room feeling heard. If the decision isn't what you'd personally prefer, it's still a collective agreement that you, as a leader, back once you step out that door—struggling with the decision? Talk it out with another leader, but don't spread discord among the team. After all, it is better to aim for unity in leadership. 

Keep an ear out as our next series might tackle the intricacies of leadership. Sounds like a brilliant plan, doesn't it?"

(listen 21:58)

A side note: We often use the Dashboard during global Safety Leadership Programs we design and facilitate for our clients. We take a temperature check of where they are at the beginning, then during the program and again at the end. Many of our participants are voluntold to attend, so it is a good test for us to see how we are tracking as facilitators. 

When discussing the Dashboard, we assess trust and determine how to build trust. Once we know the room levels, we can delve into the conversation about trust as our inbuilt personal risk assessment.

Reflection - Using a fictional case study

(listen 24:00)


You are the leader in this conversation, and you want or need to have a one-on-one conversation with one of your team.


Your team member is very dominant in the way they impose things on others without realising the impact they are having. They are quick on the uptake and conclude much more quickly than the world around them. 

Impacts other team members now operating from a position of low trust.

Your Aspiration:

You (as the leader) want to help your team members:

  • Become more aware of the impact they are having on others
  • Improve their relationships and how they approach others without being directive or overly dominant.

What could get in the way for you to have this conversation that matters as the leader? 

  • How are you feeling about entering this conversation?
  • How do you need to prepare yourself?
  • Where are you on the Dashboard?

Key point for you as the leader: 

How do you prepare yourself before going into this conversation with your team member?
What are the things that could get in the way for you to have a conversation that matters? 

  • Use the Dashboard
  • Are you feeling resistance, or are you open to co-creation?
  • Sit down for 5-10 minutes, breathe, and prepare yourself for this conversation. 
  • How will you prime for trust?
  • How agile will you be in your conversational style?
  • Will you listen to connect, not judge or reject?
  • Will you double-click to get a better understanding of their perspective, even if you don't want to agree
  • How will you react if they want more information?
  • Be open to influence 
  • And be prepared to ask questions for which you have no answers.

You may not always like what you hear, and you may not always even agree. Be mindful of your listening - pushing your thoughts to one side until you fully understand the other person's perspective. It may not be a pleasant conversation. 

In this scenario, the person may not know about their behaviours and conversational style or how they impact the team. They think they are pushing things forward and getting stuff done. 

Some helpful tips and questions include:

(listen 28:40)

  • First, build a little rapport and set the scene for the conversation.
  • What have you observed - why are you here?
  • Share your observations or concerns.
  • Then, ask how they experience these interactions.
  • How do they think others experience these?
  • Share the Dashboard with some explanation.
  • Ask them how they feel about where they are on the Dashboard.
  • Then, where do they think their teammates are?
  • How is this playing out or negatively impacting the team dynamics and overall productivity?
  • What can they do/how do they need to adjust their behaviours to improve the trust levels within the team?
  • How will they know that what they are doing is working and creating a more trusting and high-performing team?

These tools are there for you to use as an individual leader and open up to the whole team and the group within the organisation. 

We would really love to know how you might approach this conversation. Please share it with us on our LinkedIn page on the related post. 

We are certified C-IQ facilitators and coaches; hence, we talk about it a lot. 

And we love to share these tools with people and to have conversations with you and your teams. 

As Judith E. Glaser said, conversations are the golden threads that keep us connected to others. 

European C-IQ Collective Story

(listen 32:00)

Karin is a member of the European C-IQ Collective, and they have been together since 2016. They are a group of globally located peer C-IQ Certified coaches who support and continue to grow together. We have regular retreats and events and have written two books. 

Changing Conversations for a Changing World, and Changing Conversations for a Changing World Volume 2. 

In book 1, Chapter 9 - Karin shares the story of using the C-IQ Dashboard and the Foundations of Trust for a series of Safety Behaviour Workshops she ran for a construction company. 

In book 2, Chapter 2 - Karin shares how she converted a traditional 2 Safety Leadership programme to a digitally facilitated 3-month immersive programme during the pandemic, which is still running today. 

About the Show

Our purpose in sharing this podcast is to have a chinwag (conversation) to help people change how they think and behave about safety. 

We do this by engaging in dialogue and testing the levels of trust and psychological safety, which are core to organisational culture. Making safety part of your DNA so that your people speak up, show up, do right, and become safer every day for yourself, your team, and your business.

We will explore topics related to organisational and safety culture, leadership, the language of risk, emotional literacy, psychological safety, conversational agility, intercultural intelligence, and whatever else pops up during our conversations—sharing our experiences and learnings. 

We intend to share nuggets of wisdom that will challenge your perspectives, potentially solve a nagging problem, share actions you can implement, and give you at least one aha moment.

And, if you enjoyed the show and gained value, please share with just one other person to help spread the word.