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Frequently Asked Questions On Conflict Management Coaching

What is conflict management coaching?

Conflict management coaching, also known as conflict coaching, is a process that helps people on a one on one basis, to develop or enhance their skills, knowledge and competencies, to effectively engage in and manage interpersonal conflict. It is a voluntary, confidential process, that focuses on each individual’s conflict management goals.

Why do people retain a conflict management coach?

The CINERGY® model is used to coach individuals in their professional and personal lives for reasons such as:

  • To improve their knowledge, skills and abilities to more effectively manage and engage in their interpersonal disputes;
  • To develop conflict competence such as to make an attitudinal, behavioural and/or philosophical change in their approach to conflict;
  • To prevent an unnecessary escalation of a conflictual situation;
  • To prepare for a challenging conversation with another person or group;
  • To develop stronger conflict management skills specific to their needs, as a new or seasoned leader;
  • To prepare for participation in mediation, collaborative law or other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process;
  • To address matters that may arise post-mediation or other ADR process, such as lack of resilience, ongoing unresolved emotions and issues and/or relationship dynamics and so on;
  • To apply the skills learned in conflict management and other related training; and
  • To deliver performance appraisals that are expected to be contentious.

What is the coach’s role?

Coaches facilitate an informal conversation with their clients and support, encourage and challenge them to optimize their potential. In the CINERGY Coaching model, coaches employ a structured model that was experientially developed with the assistance of members of a study group. Our trained coaches use reflective questions and other techniques to help individuals to:

  • clarify and achieve their conflict management goals
  • develop insights into the dynamics of their particular conflicts and disputes
  • consider the perspective of the other person or persons involved in the conflict or dispute
  • explore options and make informed choices about how to manage the conflict
  • develop practical skills to implement workable and sustainable conflict strategies
  • consider and overcome any possible challenge to reaching their goals

Could you please provide a few examples of the types of situations in which people seek this type of coaching?

Sure. Here are three examples of real-life workplace scenarios and one of a domestic situation (identifiable information has been changed):

Karen was promoted to a management position four months ago. In the past month, three staff members complained to her boss Clara, saying Karen’s micromanagement was stifling them and that she argues with them when they try to assert their perspectives. Clara conveyed this to Karen who reacted defensively and justified her style of management. Karen is concerned that her response to her boss may be career-limiting and she sought a coach’s help to figure out how to go back to Clara to discuss this situation. Karen also wants the coach’s assistance about her style of interacting with her staff and the skills she needs to manage more effectively.

Abdul and Janice both wanted to head up a new project and their manager decided to appoint them as co-leaders. Sharing the lead has resulted in a great deal of tension between them. Janice and Abdul are now openly arguing and their colleagues are beginning to take sides. Abdul decided to see a conflict management coach. He does not want to go to their manager about this and wants to think about his options about what he may do, such as gaining skills to approach Janice in a more conciliatory way.

James and Margarite separated a year ago and both are reluctant to hire lawyers because they fear the cost. Margarite read about collaborative family law and mediation, but she anticipates James will resist her efforts to move things along, even in these ways. She decided to hire a coach to explore these options and prepare her to communicate with James, in a way he may best receive her suggestions.

Conflict management coaching suits these and the many other situations in which a person wants to become more effective at engaging in conflict.

Isn’t coaching therapy or counselling?

Not at all. Coaching may certainly be considered ‘therapeutic’, because an attentive, non-judgemental and supportive coach is trained to provide assistance on an individual basis, to listen carefully and thoughtfully and to provide the space for people to vent and share important matters in their lives. However, there are many differences between coaching and the practice of therapy and counselling. Considering that there are numerous types of therapy and counselling and looking broadly at some comparisons, coaches do not for instance, diagnose, prescribe treatment or medications, or focus on the roots of the individual’s problems, such as childhood influences and other deep-seated variables.

Conflict management coaching like many forms of coaching, is present- and future-focussed, action-oriented and relatively short-term. It is aimed at helping people optimize their potential to reach concrete goals set by the clients regarding their conflicts and ways of better managing them and themselves.

Sometimes, people see counsellors or therapists while they are seeing a coach and work on issues within the purview of those practitioners. Or, if people are too upset about their conflicts to effectively engage in coaching, they may see a counsellor or therapist, before committing to coaching.

Is there such a thing as not being ‘coachable’?

Conflict management coaching is a voluntary process; that is, you cannot impose coaching on unwilling people. Similarly, those who choose to proceed with coaching may end the process, if it isn’t working for them. So, to answer this question, the starting point is that coaching is most conducive if prospective clients are ready, willing and able to identify and work towards achieving their conflict management goals. Coaches routinely assess the individual’s readiness, before determining whether the process is appropriate.

Conflict management coaching is not appropriate as punitive, disciplinary or corrective action, or for individuals who are slated for dismissal.

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