Conflict Coaching

Conflict Coaching

It’s inevitable. It’s part of the human experience. It arouses strong emotions.

We’re talking about conflict, of course. As coaches we are good at managing and coaching our clients through conflict (aren’t we??).

There are many ways of dealing with conflict, of course, and we all have our preferences. Some tend to avoid it at all costs, often at their own expense. Others become quite aggressive and can damage relationships in the process. Still others tend to roll over and accommodate, failing to get their own needs met in life.

First, conflict is not bad. It is a natural occurrence. As noted earlier, it is part of the human experience. It’s how it’s managed that makes the difference.

Selecting the best approach to managing conflict depends on the situation, and the capabilities and awareness of the individual. There are times when it is best temporarily avoided, at least until emotions calm down. Other times we need to step up to an aggressive approach. And sometimes it’s best to compromise (give a little, get a little), or accommodate (if we know we are wrong or it really doesn’t matter much). And then, of course, there’s the win-win, Getting-to-Yes, collaborative approach to resolving conflict.

The best among us flex, stretch themselves out of their comfort zone, and adapt the approach to the unique circumstances of the situation. Conflict is addressed effectively, in a healthy balanced manner without damaging relationships and without giving up on our own needs.

Handling the inevitable conflicts that arise in life is a topic that frequently surfaces in coaching. Proactively and consciously identifying a path to managing conflict is a powerful first step, an authentic one. Supporting our clients as they sift through the various ways of dealing with conflict themselves is just one of the key coaching skills so worthy of exploration and growth in your coaching journey.

Dr. Laura Belsten, is Dean of the Graduate School of Coaching, a Master Certified Coach (MCC), and a national leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence. Personal Power is one of the twenty-four key competencies of the Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile ™.

“But I don’t have time to coach them!”

“But I don’t have time to coach them!”

It’s time to put the biggest obstacle to coaching your team to rest. During a study to determine how — or even IF — managers matter, Google’s people analytics team identified eight key behaviors demonstrated by the company’s most effective managers. Can you guess which leadership skill is right at the top of the list?

“A good manager is a good COACH.” (Project Oxygen)

(See “An Open Letter to All Leaders” for the rest of the eight key behaviors)

In fact, many more businesses are getting the message that coaching skills can boost both a manager’s effectiveness and their employees’ engagement, and are including ‘coaching’ in managerial and supervisory job descriptions.

That’s a giant step in the right direction because coaching is a unique set of communication skills that, when mastered, deliver a double benefit: these powerful skills both build positive, respectful relationships AND empower teams to get the work done. When employees are coached well, and then feel valued and inspired, they’re much more likely to show up every day willing to do their best work.

If you oversee the work of others, you’re probably already familiar with coaching as a powerful relationship management skill. And if you’re a busy leader, careening from deadlines to crises and back again, you’re probably thinking one of the most common Yeah, buts:

Yeah, that’s all well and good, but I don’t have time to coach my team members!

It’s a general misconception that coaching a direct report has to be a scheduled, sit-down, lengthy, in-depth meeting. If that were the only way you could coach an employee, of course it would be difficult to work that into your already packed schedule every time an employee had an issue, question, or needed clarification.

The good news is that coaching your team members to be more engaged, self-sufficient, and responsible doesn’t have to take any more time than you spend with them right now — if you do it right.

Here are just a few of the many ways you can get more done in less time — and save your company money — when you integrate powerful coaching skills into the regular conversations you have with your team members every day:

  • You can eliminate a lot of the back-story, the emotions, and the “noise” that typically clutters and sidetracks effective communication at work
  • They will feel more inspired to collaborate with you and the team when they feel heard and valued
  • You can “cut to the chase” and get to the heart of an issue or goal faster, so you can get to the solution and the action sooner
  • They will listen to you more openly and be less resistant to your guidance when you share your own thoughts and expectations respectfully
  • You can reduce costly delays and mistakes caused by miscommunication, personal agendas, and assumptions
  • You can leverage “corridor coaching” to build deeper connection, rapport, and trust with your team members
  • You can stop micro-managing your team and start focusing on your own work more when they feel empowered to be more self-sufficient

When you model respectful and professional communication skills, your team can bond more quickly as a drama-free, cohesive, co-creative, and collaborative unit.

If you truly want a high performance team that gets along and gets the work done, you don’t have time NOT to coach them!

Author LAURIE CAMERON, founder of WakeUp! Enterprises, is lovingly dedicated to spreading massive amounts of respect, kindness, and compassion as far and wide as she can. Her path to accomplish this is to teach the power of coaching to as many people as possible because it’s a unique communication tool that both builds positive, co-creative relationships AND gets stuff done. http://wakeupenterprises.com/

In her 18+ years of coaching hundreds of clients and training over 1000 professional coaches, she firmly believes that everyone can benefit from learning and mastering coaching skills. She is available for individual and small group coaching skills training, and mentor coaching for leaders who coach their teams.

Laurie is a senior faculty member at Coach Training Alliance, and is a Certified CTA Coach. She is also a Master Certified Opposite Strengths® Executive Coach, a Master Certified Relationship Coach with Relationship Coaching Institute, and a Certified Master Mind Facilitator.

She currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Mentor Me, a youth mentoring organization in Northern California, and treasures the time she spends with her 15-year-old mentee. Laurie is very active in the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce, regularly volunteers her time at numerous non-profit organizations in the community, and she loves living in the Petaluma Gap.