Conflict Coaching

How many times have you faced a conflict and you weren’t sure what to do? Or, perhaps you frequently have to interface with a difficult person and you are looking for strategies and techniques to help you hold your ground but reach a resolution? Or, perhaps your latest performance review at work noted that you have a difficult time handling disputes with your co-workers or customers? Conflict coaching is a one-on-one service whereby a consult engagement specialist explores the situation and participants with you and then works collaboratively to identify constructive techniques for you to employ. Depending on your need or desire, the Conflict Coach will assist on a one-time basis, through a series of difficult situations, or help you develop conflict management skills in general.

Value and Benefits

Borrowing from a book by Bernard Mayer*, the values and benefits of conflict coaching include:

  • Improvement in how you manage and perform in a conflict situation;
  • Enhanced skills for not only the particular situation, but also how you manage conflict in general;
  • Focus on one or two areas of improvement that are achievable rather than a long list of do’s and don’ts;
  • Encouragement to practice conflict management skills and not shy away from contentious situations; and
  • A process by which you can reflect on conflict experiences and consider how well you did or areas for improvement.


By working with a conflict coach, in a conflict situation a person will

  • Feel and perform with more confidence; and
  • More likely achieve positive and constructive conclusions;
  • Be sensitive to the pitfalls and crevices so that they may be avoided.

In addition, after having worked with a conflict coach, a person usually has the capacity to step back after a conflict and assess what went well and what might have been done differently thereby continuing his learning and honing his skill.

Example Cases

  1. Harry, a co-worker in another organization within your firm is giving you grief again. It is his way or the highway and you’re weary from tip toeing around him. This time your project is on a tight timeline and you need Harry’s cooperation quickly. How can you break through Harry’s style and constant disagreements?

  2. Your brother and you have been feuding for years but now it is hurting your mother. Some difficult and sensitive family decisions have to be made but you can’t stand to be in the same with your brother much less talk to him. What is the best approach to overcome your difficulties dealing with your all-knowing, difficult brother?

  3. You’re the Chairman of a non-profit board for the local two year technical college. A new President of the College was just hired by the Board but you sense your professional relationship with her is strained. It is critical you work well with the new President yet you don’t know what is causing the stress or how to manage it.

  4. Your mentor just shared that you are on the list of fast track young executives that are being primed for key jobs in the recent merger. Though you are bright, hard-working, and have a reputation of delivering projects with high quality you are known to be tough to get along with. If you are going to realize your potential, you need learn how to deal with disputes with grace and sensitivity.

* Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass – A Wiley Imprint. 2004. Pages 231-237. Print.

Frequently Asked Questions about Conflict Coaching