Simulate a situation in a role play in which you annoy your candidate and engage him in a conflict by being direct and personal (‘you are...; this is impossible; you can’t do this; this doesn’t work’). Encourage the candidate to deal with the situation.
Ask your candidate to describe a situation in which he encountered resistance. What did this do to him? What was the other person’s reaction? What went well and what could be better? Try to think of alternative assertive responses together.
Encourage your candidate to take notice not only of what another person says but also of what he signals with body language, facial expressions and attitude. How do the words and signals diverge in a conflict situation?
Ask your candidate about the people with whom he communicates regularly: do they require different approaches in a conflict situation? Does he always take that approach? What would happen if he did not?
Encourage the candidate to practise his listening skills outside work as well. Involve family and friends to provide feedback.