Through conflict coaching, a coach can work with an individual or a team who is experiencing conflict with another person or people. The coach will attempt to support the individual or team to utilize a set of skills or strategies aimed at resolving the dispute.
Some of the features of conflict coaching are:
- It is voluntary.
- It is confidential.
- It is tailored to the specific requirements and goals of the individual or team.
- It is based on a collaborative and constructive approach to conflict.
- It can be used as a standalone technique or in combination with other dispute resolution methods like mediation or facilitation.
- It can be done in person, online, or by phone.
How Does a Conflict Coach Help?
A conflict coach can ease work tension by helping the individual or team to work through a specific conflict and/or learning conflict resolution skills to be more effective in handling conflict.
Some of the benefits of conflict coaching are:
- It can reduce the negative effects of conflict on the individual’s or team’s well-being, such as anxiety, stress, or low morale.
- It can improve the communication and relationship dynamics among the parties involved, and foster a more positive work environment.
- It can help the individual or team to develop strategies and approaches for managing the conflict when returning to the workplace, and avoid future escalations of conflicts.
- It can empower the individual or team to take responsibility for their own actions and emotions and to see conflict as an opportunity for growth.
Goals of Conflict Coaching for Individuals and Teams
Some of the goals of conflict coaching for individuals and teams are to help:
- Identify and address the root cause of the conflict, and find mutually acceptable solutions.
- Develop and practice effective communication and listening skills, and learn to express their needs and interests in a respectful and assertive way.
- Enhance their emotional intelligence and self-awareness, and manage their emotions and reactions in conflict situations.
- Improve their relationship with the other party or parties, and restore trust, cooperation, and respect.
- Learn from this conflict and apply the skills and strategies they have learned to future conflicts.
What Steps Are Involved in Conflict Coaching?
There are different models and approaches to conflict coaching, but a common one is the Comprehensive Conflict Coaching Model developed by Jones and Brinkert in 2008 and it consists of four stages:
Stage One: Discovering the Story
Here, the coach helps the individual or team to tell their story of the conflict and to explore their emotions, perceptions, interests, and goals. The coach also helps them identify their strengths and challenges in dealing with the conflict.
Stage Two: Exploring the Story
At this point, the coach helps those involved to analyze the conflict from different perspectives, be it their own, the other party’s, or an observer’s. The coach also helps them examine the patterns and dynamics of the conflict, and to identify potential opportunities and obstacles for resolution.
Stage Three: Crafting the Story
In this stage, the coach helps those involved to develop and evaluate possible options and strategies for resolving or managing the conflict. The coach also helps them plan and rehearse how to implement their chosen option or strategy.
Stage Four: Enacting the Story
In the final stage, the coach supports the individuals to execute their plan and to monitor and adjust their actions as needed. The coach also helps them reflect on their outcomes from the conflict coaching process.
What Are Some of the Skills and Strategies that Conflict Coaches Teach?
Some of the skills or strategies that conflict coaches teach are:
This involves paying attention to what the other person is saying, and showing interest and empathy. Active listening also involves asking open-ended questions, summarizing, and reflecting back on what you heard.
This involves being able to recognize and manage your own emotions and to understand and respect the emotions of others. Emotional awareness also involves being able to express your feelings in a constructive way and avoid reacting impulsively or defensively.
This involves being able to state your needs, interests, and opinions clearly and respectfully, without being aggressive or passive. Assertive communication also involves using “I” statements, avoiding blame or accusations, and focusing on solutions rather than on finding problems.
This involves being able to see the conflict from different points of view, such as your own, the other party’s, or a third-party observer’s. Perspective-taking also involves being able to acknowledge the validity of different perspectives and identifying areas of common ground or shared interests.
This involves being able to generate and evaluate possible options and strategies for resolving or managing the conflict. Problem-solving also involves being able to collaborate with the other party or parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement or outcome.