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Avoiding Conflict

In my work as a conflict management coach, many clients admit a tendency to avoid conflict. When faced with situations they want to resolve somehow, there is a sense of helplessness and lack of confidence and competence to know how to do so. Or if someone else raises a fractious matter, my conflict avoidant clients report backing down and yielding to the other person, ignoring the conflict, or reacting in ways that are inappropriate or ineffective.

These and other ways conflict avoiders use when encountering conflict typically perpetuates ongoing unrest and disquiet that does not meet their needs and hopes.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a tendency to avoid conflict, if this applies to you.

  • What is one example of when you avoided conflict?
  • For what reasons did you avoid that conflict?
  • What advantages came from avoiding that conflict? What disadvantages came from avoiding it?
  • How did you feel having avoided that conflict?
  • How would you have preferred to respond at that time?
  • What stopped you?
  • What resources, skills, etc. did you need in that situation to be able to engage the way you preferred?
  • Generally, as you think about it now, if you were to stop avoiding conflict what else do you need to engage in conflict effectively?
  • What do you imagine you would risk if you learned skills to engage in conflict and not avoid it?
  • What might you gain if you do not avoid conflict?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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