What if a coaching client is dealing with conflict?
Conflict provides an opportunity for creating understanding and creative brainstorming of solutions. The key is how it is managed. Many people avoid conflict by withdrawing. Others avoid conflict by pushing their own solution without hearing different possibilities. What works is to hear and understand the various perspectives, and then engage those involved in developing the solution. Conflict coaching is an effective tool with individuals dealing with the conflict and also with multiple people involved in the conflict.
The CCC conflict management model is STOP:
S = stories
T = topics
O = options
P = plan
The conflict coaching process is understand the client’s Story or perspective and then ask them to share their understanding of the other person’s perspective. Next explore the list of Topics to address and the discussion order. Then brainstorm multiple Options. Ask the client to create their Plan detailing what they will do and when.
When coaching one person who will then go address the conflict with others ask:
- Describe the situation.
- Pretending I know nothing, if the other person were here how would they describe it?
- What are the topics to address?
- What topics would the other person include?
- What are the options for… (each topic in order)?
- What options would the other person suggest?
- What else is possible?
- What will work for everyone?
- What is your plan for addressing this with them?
- What else can you do?
- How does this conversation help with your process?
As a coach the focus is on creating awareness then understanding, brainstorming multiple possibilities, exploring and choosing options, then creating the action plan. By being open to all input, clarifying, neutralizing negativity or attacks, and engaging the client in exploring possible solutions, you are empowering them for successfully managing conflict.