Conflict coaching involves coaching one or more parties in a conflict so that they are able to defuse or resolve the conflict. It is not negotiating, nor negotiating training. Like all coaching, it involves dealing with the obvious and the internal. It involves managing interactions and intra-actions. It is a very much needed, yet a seldom taught capability. Here are three dimensions of this science and art.
Conflicts Arising from Behavioral Styles
People have been classifying people according to behavioral style for a very long time. Actually thousands of years, since the first person recognized for doing this was Hippocrates. And whether you categorize people by their D-I-S-C patterns, or as Drivers – Analyticals – Expressives – Amiables, peoples’ behavioral styles fall into some variation of four basic groupings. The problem arises when people are thrown together without an understanding of or an appreciation of value of the style options. The solution is to make these matters clear and to teach everyone how to successfully adjust their own behavior to work well with the others.
Conflict Coaching to Resolve Conflicting Values
Another important area of conflict coaching involves understanding the fundamental values that drive the behavior of the various people involved in the conflict. Whether driven by Social, Traditional, Theoretical, Utilitarian, Individualistic or Aesthetic values – or a particular combination of them – differences in driving values can lead to conflict. An understanding of these driving forces and the differences in each person’s values can go a long way to increase understanding and lower conflict.
When Fundamental Needs Form the Basis for the Conflict
When people come to situations with an imbalance in satisfying fundamental needs internal and external conflict usually result. This is a particularly volatile situation, since internal imbalance can generate conflict within the group in a way that does not make any sense to most of the members of the group. And the conflict among members of the group, who are each in a state of imbalance, can be particularly destructive. This is where conflict coaching can make a powerful difference for the individuals, as well as the group as a whole. Helping each member of the group increase their satisfaction of each value is the key, which is easier said than done.
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach