Conflict Coaching

Helga Rhodes said, “Conflict is a fact of life; it does not have to be a way of life.”  Conflict can be a good thing when managed well because it enhances understanding, creates awareness, supports brainstorming ideas, and leads to effective planning and follow-through.

How does having a process for managing conflict help with a coaching program?

  • Coaching program administrators face conflict between program participants and the constituency.
  • Individuals being coached are dealing with conflicts.

What is an effective conflict coaching process?  Based on years of work conducting conflict mediation and training mediators in addition to coaching, I have developed a simple, easy to remember model that works.

STOP Model for Conflict Management

  1. Stories – each person takes a turn and shares their perspective with a coach or facilitator rephrasing what is shared to ensure understanding.
  2. Topics – everyone involved creates a list of topics to be addressed and is involved prioritizing each.
  3. Options – each person involved generates several options for addressing each topic; all options are listed and choosing which to use follows with everyone involved.  (Sometimes the option to choose is obvious, sometimes options are eliminated and you back into the answer, sometimes the option chosen is a mix of the ideas.)
  4. Plan – each person involved is included in deciding on specific action steps that include the who, what, and when for implementing the chosen option.

When coaching one person dealing with this conflict, have them provide their perspective plus have them reflect on the perspective of the other person.  After working through the four steps, explore how they can use this process in a conversation and/or follow through to effectively address the conflict.

The conflict coaching model shared here is an effective model in many conversations and is very similar to the coaching process: sharing of the story, listing topics of focus, exploring options, and creating the plan.

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