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Preparing to “Be” in Conflict

There are times we know we will encounter pushback, defensiveness, offensiveness and other negative reactions to issues we want to raise with another person. The mere idea of this can be daunting and preclude us from raising them. Or, if we do initiate such hard conversations, our trepidation might bring out words and behaviours from us that make matters worse.

Many of us do not prepare to be in conflict, though doing so usually serves to make the interaction easier than expected. We feel more confident and comfortable and we help make the situation better for the other person, too. In this way, the conflict conversation is more productive and less stressful.

For this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog, consider an interaction you anticipate will be conflict-inducing and fraught with tension – on a matter that is likely to cause a negative reaction by her or him.

  • What is the conversation to be about?
  • What do you think is most likely to lead to a conflict within it?
  • What reaction by the other person worries you most?
  • What else are you most concerned about?
  • To prepare for the conversation, what do you want to avoid saying because it is not really necessary and may lead to an adverse reaction?
  • How do you want to come across? That is, how do you want to be and be perceived?
  • What is the outcome you want?
  • What might the other person want as an outcome?
  • How will you respond in a way that is consistent with the outcome you want, if you become agitated by the other person?
  • What other ways might you consider to best prepare yourself so you will be most confident and also, help make the other person feel comfortable to engage with you (if that is what you want)?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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