DiCello Tackles Tough Talk in Business Book

By Andy Meek

Bridget DiCello is quick to disabuse people of any notion that she’s one of those executive coaches and speakers, the ones who put on razzle-dazzle presentations filled with flash and sizzle.


What she is, rather, is a speaker, author, coach for C-level executives and customized leadership trainer who has just published a new business resource book and who proudly asserts that she’s “not one of those motivational hoo-rah speakers.”

“Now, I hope you are motivated by what I say,” said DiCello, whose new book “How, Not if, to Navigate Difficult Conversations” was published a few days ago. “But we’re going to talk about practical things you can do and that you can do differently to be more successful than you are today.

“People have so much potential that’s unrealized.”

Helping professionals and busy business leaders tap into that potential – which she sees as being partly held back by an unwillingness or inability to deal with uncomfortable situations – is why she wrote the book. And in keeping with her preferred style of business coaching, this is not a book that has to be read from the first page until the end.

She designed it to be a quick reference. One that, should a reader choose, they can dip into and out of, taking from it what they need at a given time. And it includes practical advice and examples.

“It’s a business book, but you don’t have to read it from beginning to end, because people get so busy,” she said. “I love reading books on leadership and management and communications. But there are so many books that I read and say, ‘OK, but now what do I do with this?’

“I wanted it to be incredibly practical and easy to use and yet help people with some of the most difficult business problems that are probably not … they’re simple, but they’re not easy.”

Through her work as a speaker, executive coach and author, she uses a similar customized approach in her mission to improve communication in professional settings.

Her own experiences are diverse. DiCello is a New York native who’s led nursing homes and retirement communities as well as coached leadership teams in small, mid-sized and large companies.

“I grew up riding horses, and I would always choose the horse with too much spunk over one I had to kick to get moving,” DiCello wrote in a recent blog post on her website. “I like to interact with people who are stronger in their opinions – and are able to turn that into productive movement forward – a challenge I would gladly take on in riding a horse.”

“I wanted (the book) to be incredibly practical and easy to use and yet help people with some of the most difficult business problems that ... they’re simple, but they’re not easy.”

–Bridget DiCello

Chris Patterson, a client of hers who’s managing director at FedEx Services, called DiCello’s leadership class an “intense gut check” on how to do business.

“Business owners, executives, nonprofits and professionals can all benefit by learning how to manage teams and communicate effectively with employees,” he said. “This has helped our company to bring up production and help increase the bottom line. Her classes and coaching have been invaluable to my company over the years.”

Many things can hold back that success. They include the barriers to communication that DiCello addresses in her new book.

“I deal with an awful lot of people who are professionals who are driven and have a strong opinion of how they want to do business and how they want to succeed and what they want to accomplish,” she said. “And the main thing that gets in their way, even more than money or more than ability or more than anything strategic in the business is the inability to have some of the difficult conversations they are faced with.

“So as much as I can help them on the strategic side, what it really comes down to is when they go to talk to other people about doing something important. Getting an employee to do something or getting a colleague to work with them or working with any people who aren’t miserable communicators, but the difficult conversations still stump them.”

By way of describing herself, DiCello likes to tell people she was valedictorian in high school and college – an accomplishment she didn’t immediately realize was an obstacle. Because it meant she entered the workplace thinking she knew something, when what she didn’t know at the outset is that she wasn’t good at difficult conversations.

That trait quickly changed, though. Because as she says herself, “I want to be changing things. Improving things. Constantly moving forward.”