What's in a name? The Art of the Empathetic Interview

I'd love some input.  I've got a session that in my head is all about the art of the empathetic interview.  It's about listening to people explain in a way that creates understanding.  It's applicable to those situations where there's a behavior or performance problem and we want to understand the real story without jumping to conclusions or making snap judgements.

The problem I have is I know if I use the word 'Interview', everyone will instantly think that I'm talking about hiring which isn't it.  Ideas for other words or phrasing?  I thought about dialogue but since it's not really a bidirectional exchanging of ideas it doesn't feel appropriate.  Conversation is another word -- but it feels too casual.

Ideas?

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  • How about "Empathetic Listening" since that seems to be the focal point your described above? 

    Also based on what you're describing, I've always called this "Seek to Understand" - I realize that doesn't use the word empathy, but it's probing a change in mindset. 

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  • I like where you are going with all of this.   In the engineering sense at least in the Nuclear industry when something happened that caused a malfunction in equipment, process, or procedures we would gather all parties involved to help assign corrective actions.  We called the gathering a Critique...it was investigative in nature but open to input from all to explore the possibilities and expose all weaknesses.   The foundation was laid at the beginning that the purpose was not to lay blame but indeed put solutions in place to prevent the incident or performance drop again.

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  • Discovery or Intake perhaps?  You're in information gathering mode.  I like discovery as it implies finding out things you don't know for the intent of learning.  

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