It’s not a matter of whether or not you will experience conflict with people it’s a matter of when.
When you gain conflict skills you are developing a skill you will use for the rest of your life.
Imagine smiling when you know a conversation is heading south because you recognize what is happening and how to handle it without effort.
For 25 years, I’ve worked with singles, couples, teams and top tier executives to become skilled at handing conflict.
There are a few principles to learn and once you do, it’s simply a matter of practice. The science today around conflict management is spot on and you will want to be privy to what other, high level thinkers, are doing to stay in their A game.
What is conflict coaching?
Conflict coaching will help you to navigate personal conflict. This includes inner challenges with your confidence around making every day decisions to differences that may come up between you and another person. Conflict coaching will help you to learn skills to manage conflict. When you become skilled at managing conflict, life gets far easier. People will feel safe to share their feelings and you will have more perspective when they do and not be so reactive. Imagine being able to hear anyone tell you what's bothering them and not be reactive?
Conflict Coaching and Consulting
The difference between conflict coaching versus conflict consulting is in coaching you are taught conflict resolution skills and then the coaching session revolves around you making choices then testing your theories in the real world. Once you test, you'll consider making adjustments as you get feedback. You will then report back to the coach as part of the accountability required in the coaching model.
Consulting, on the other hand, is asking someone who is an expert for advice. You decide to either using that advice or not. You will still have to test your advice in the real world to draw effective conclusions. Coaching guides you step by step, consulting gives you advice then you are on your own.
Conflict Coaching Training
Now that you understand the basics of Conflict Coaching, the next step is to et a sense of the training that is available to you. There are a few credible places I will list here including the ones in my own program where you can easily pair your training with 1:1 coaching for a better experience.
- Recognize you are in a conflict before it escalates
- Identify your blind-spots
- How to repair
- Taking responsibility
- Direct empathetic communication
- Find common ground
- Negotiate win-win solutions
- Focus on future
- Follow through
Conflict Coaching Process
The conflict coaching training process will resemble this type of format:
- Orientation to your coach through an introductory coaching session.
- Sessions begin with a goal in mind for that session. It is up to the client to think that through in advance if you want the most out of the call. The goal you choose will direct the entire call. This is important because the mind can wander very quickly and without a focus or compass the conversation can get lost and nothing accomplished.
- During the session, the coach will help you to identify blind-spots and help you to learn the needed skills.
- You'll especially learn about taking deep responsibility for your interpretations, and any actions that follow. If you don't learn the skill of pivoting into taking responsibility, you'll continue to stay stuck in a victim position. In reality, after 25 years of coaching 100's of clients, when a person gets stuck in the victim position they are accessing early life trauma where they actually did feel completely helpless. When that is the case, there needs to be an intervention to assist you in releasing those pent up energies that have been holding you hostage your entire life.
- Once you learn how to shift into healthy responsibility and no longer serve the victim energy, you become liberated. Once you body and brain are on the same page with what healthy responsibility looks and feels like, you are no longer triggered by people and can easily ask more questions and investigate a person's perspective rather than to become reactive and activate each others safety system. (That typically will react the same way you did when you were little and unable to take the high road)
- The coaching process will end that session with a summary of the sequence that was covered and highlight of your "takeaways". Homework will be assigned and it's your job to deliver before the next session Pitfalls of Coaching
- The number one behavior I see with people doing coaching is not taking it seriously. People are initially very excited, and want to learn the skills but lose a sense of priority once their daily life patterns kick back in. That's a mistake.
- In the ideal world, the coaching needs to be designed in such a way that your learning commitment is strong and sustainable. There needs to be some agreements in place so the coach can remind you when you are drifting off course. There also needs to be some agreements around how to handle you if defensiveness or excuses begin to emerge. The ego is very tricky. Consciously you may want to change some behaviors, but often the ego put certain behaviors in place many years ago as a way to keep you safe. When you and your coach start to tinker with those patterns defensiveness can occur because to the ego, those new patterns are a threat. So, a good coach will help you to navigate those moments where big breakthroughs can occur.
Conflict Coaching Fundamentals
After 25 years of coaching individuals, couples and teams I've learned to recognize some essential characteristics or traits that make up a healthy process for handling any difference or conflict that may emerge from those differences. Working with a Conflict Management Coaching like myself expect to learn and practice these fundamentals:
- Healthy attunement
- Your blind-spots
- The others blind-spots and how to navigate
- The fear traps (Blamer, Victim Rescuer)
- Listening filters
- Making request
- Visioning what success looks like so your brain has a new place to go
- Transitions and what they may trigger
- Changing agreements
These are just a few to give you an idea of what to expect. Mastering even this short list will put you in a far better place than 95% of the world. Most people will never put in the time to grow and learn these skills. People that do, become the respected leaders in the organization if that is what they aspire for.
Conflict Coaching in the Workplace
Conflict coaching in the workplace is a skillset you probably should not skip over or put off to a future date. Humans are wired for safety and if you don't do a good job at keeping it safe for others during conflict or when disagreements happen, you make an impression that may eventually undermine your career.
Imagine being able to listen to anyone and not react? You will have the upper hand for sure. One of the hallmarks of mindfulness, an essential habit to master, is being able to take perspective during stressful situations. Consider mindfulness as being one of your core tools to learn as you develop your conflict management skills in the workplace.
There are other skills to develop in yourself as well including:
- Learning to focus on the behavior NOT attack the person's personality
- Separating out where you agree and disagree
- Become a good inquiry and asking more questions
- How to troubleshoot any disagreement that seems like it's "stuck"
- Following through on the plan while in the discomfort of conflict.
Here are just a few things you will learn in the Ed Ferrigan Coaching Conflict program:
- How to recognize conflict is happening before you open your mouth and make things worse. - What to say right off to diffuse the escalation.
- What to check in your body language to make sure you are not sending negative subliminal messages.
- What tone and voice inflections are essential to disarm a person’s trigger. (We all get triggered so it’s up to us to minimize or eliminate that from happening if possible)
- How one breath statements and repeating help you to disarm you and the other person’s reaction.
- One simple technique that immediately brings in a more light hearted tone in the conversation.
Like any learning, you first have to engage and take in new information. During our time together, I will make sure the learning path is exciting and rewarding. You’ll be using your skills in no time at all.
If you want to become more skilled at conflict management there are a few options with my organization.
1. You can purchase one of my programs for getting the basics (Each program comes with a 30 day MBG so if you are not satisfied with the program you can get a full refund)
2. You can do weekly 1:1 coaching sessions to ramp up your skills quickly
3. You can do a combination of the above
One of the features of my coaching program is the first session is free. You can schedule it here. This session is just like what we do in a real weekly session so you know exactly my style and what to expect. This is a “no sales pressure” session. The session last 50 minutes and towards the end of this first session I will go over my various programs so you can pick the one that best suits your needs and financial abilities. Go here to schedule your free session.