art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

ConflictMastery Quest(ions) Blog

The CINERGY® Conflict Management Coaching Blog –ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) – is for anyone who finds self-reflective questions helpful for examining and strengthening your conflict intelligence. It is also for coaches, mediators, HR professionals, ombudsmen, leaders, lawyers, psychologists, counsellors and others who also use self-reflective questions as tools for helping your clients in these ways.

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching | 8 Comments

Feeling or Being Understood in Conflict

In this summer time while I am taking some holidays, please find below the seventh most popular blog from 2016. If you are inclined, please provide your comments on why you think this one was so well-received.

FEELING OR BEING UNDERSTOOD IN CONFLICT

In the middle of an interpersonal conflict some of us do not feel we are understood, and that may be the case. However, it may also be that we are being understood. That is, the other person may understand our perspective but we don’t actually believe she or he emotionally relates to our experience, viewpoint and needs. This may be why there is a conflict in the first place. Or, such a dynamic might perpetuate the tension and negatively impact the relationship and the outcome.

If you are not feeling understood, check out the questions from this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog and see if anything shifts in your reflections on this topic.

  • What is the conflict about?
  • What do you think the other person understands about your perspective?
  • What do you think the other person doesn’t understand about your perspective?
  • What do you think she or he understands about your feelings regarding the situation?
  • What do you think she or he doesn’t understand about your feelings regarding the situation?
  • What is most important to you that you want the other person to understand about you?
  • What difference will it make if she or he understands that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What would the other person need to say or do for you to feel you are understood?
  • If you asked the person to understand what is most important to you about the conflict between you, what would that sound like?
  • If you asked her or him to understand the impact on you, what words would you use?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Originally posted May 10, 2016

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching | Leave a comment

Channeling the Conflict Masterful Version of You

Below is the sixth most popular blog from 2016 (as I am taking a break for a few weeks). If you are inclined, please provide your comments on why you think this one was so well-received.

CHANNELING THE CONFLICT MASTERFUL VERSION OF YOU

Once we are triggered in a conflict our emotions typically escalate and we react in ways that can be counterproductive. This happens for us and for the other person – and together we create a crucible for potential chaos! Strange as it may sound though, we are on common ground at these times. That is, we share the experience of perceiving something important to us is being challenged or threatened by the other. At these times, among other things, we are often in blame mode; our amygdala is activated; and we say things we later regret.

In the unsettled state of mind interpersonal conflict perpetuates, our capacity for engaging in conflict masterfully is at a low point and we have trouble knowing where our conflict competencies have gone. How to channel those lost proficiencies and regain the skills and ability to manage ourselves in ways that are consistent with who we really want to be, seem to be lost in the chaos.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a dispute in which you are or were not being conflict masterful and ask yourself how you could bring the best version of yourself to the situation.

  • What is or was the dispute about?
  • How are or were you reacting that you don’t like?
  • What provoked that particular reaction?
  • What about your reaction seems to be having or did have the most negative impact on the other person?
  • How did the other person react back?
  • As you consider this situation, what conflict proficiencies do you have that you didn’t apply at the time (if applicable)?
  • What precluded you from using that or those proficiencies?
  • If you were to channel that or those proficiencies, what would need to happen for you to be able to do so effectively? Or, which one(s) do or did you want to learn?
  • How does the notion of channeling one or more conflict proficiencies help you decide what you would do in this same situation if you had it to do over?
  • What is one proficiency you plan to strengthen when it comes to being in conflict that reflects a conflict masterful version of you?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Originally posted November 1, 2016

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching | Leave a comment

Giving Up Hope

For this second week of August (during some summer holiday time), please find below the fifth most popular blog from 2016. If you are inclined, please provide your comments on why you think this one was so well-received.

GIVING UP HOPE

One of my favourite quotes about forgiveness – in reference to situations of long ago – is by Lily Tomlin. It goes: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past”. There’s something profound, for me, about the idea of allowing ourselves to be hopeless about a conflictual situation or relationship that we continue to agonize about. Somehow replacing hopefulness with hopelessness strikes me as a more real place to be as time lapses and misery lingers.

Acknowledging that past disputes cannot be changed invites us to be relieved of the past anguish rather than reliving it. The reality is that for some of us no longer ruminating may not really be what we want.

In truth, it isn’t easy to forgive others for emotional pain we experience from some conflicts and put them behind us. This is often the case for the situations we had high hopes of resolving. However, I like the idea of honouring ourselves as fully capable of putting the past behind us and not letting the memories continue to define the present and future.

If you have a past conflict that you are holding onto – still hoping the situation and/or relationship could be resolved and mended – the following questions might be helpful.

  • What is the situation about that you are holding onto?
  • What is your hope with respect to that situation?
  • How might you rate the reality of that hope happening (your answer to the previous question), on a scale of 1-10, 10 being very realistic?
  • How is your lingering hope in that situation defining you in relation to the other person?
  • If you imagined not having that hope any longer, what would that feel like?
  • If you replaced the hopelessness with hopefulness for something else, what would you hope for instead?
  • What better future do you imagine for yourself without the weight of the past situation?
  • What does that feel like (your answer to the previous question)?
  • How would the better future you described previously have an impact on the other person? On your relationship with her or him?
  • What positive learning do you have from the past situation that will help you going forward?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Originally posted April 5, 2016

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Forgiving, Resilience | Leave a comment

Silence – Golden? Not Necessarily

For this first week of August (during some summer holiday time), please find below the fourth most popular blog from 2016. If you are inclined, please provide your comments on why you think this one was so well-received.

SILENCE – GOLDEN? NOT NECESSARILY

The proverbial expression “silence is golden” is often used in circumstances where saying nothing is considered preferable to speaking. “As with many proverbs, the origin of this phrase is obscured by the mists of time. There are reports of versions of it dating back to Ancient Egypt. The first example of it in English is from the poet Thomas Carlyle, who translated the phrase from German in Sartor Resartus, 1831, in which a character expounds at length on the virtues of silence.”

Incidentally, the fuller version used in Carlyle’s writing is “speech is silver; silence is golden”, which is a phrase that is still sometimes used, although the shorter form is now more common.

When it comes to being in conflict, silence can, of course, be a positive response – when listening to the other person to take in her or his point of view, needs and expectations. Silence though is not always a positive response when it is perceived as dismissive, condescending, disinterest, avoiding, ignoring and other words that conjure up the perception of lack of engagement.

This week’s blog invites you to consider the use of silences in conflict – yours and the other person’s. Please consider both types of scenarios as you answer the following questions.

  • In a specific situation in which you chose to be silent, what was it about?
  • Why did you choose silence?
  • How did being silent positively work for you? For the other person?
  • What made using silence not the optimal choice for you? For the other person?
  • What did you say, if anything, when you spoke?
  • What happened in a conflict situation when the other person remained silent?
  • How did that positively work for you? What didn’t work?
  • What do you wish the other person had said that you would have preferred to remaining silent?
  • In general, when is silence not golden, from your viewpoint? When is silence golden?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Originally posted October 4, 2016

 

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Silence | Leave a comment

Split Second Reaction

Below is the third most popular blog from 2016 (as I am taking a break for a few weeks). If you are inclined, please provide your comments on why you think this one was so well-received.

SPLIT SECOND REACTION

If you read the great book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – or even if you didn’t – you will undoubtedly understand the concept of first impressions – whether they are immediate reactions to tastes, sounds, words and other stimuli.

As a noun, the expression “split second” may be defined as: “1. an extremely small period of time; instant 2. made or arrived at in an infinitely short time – split-second decision 3. depending upon minute precision – split-second timing.”

This phenomenon and term may also apply to what initiates our interpersonal conflicts. That is, things that people say or do to which we quickly react – in a split second – seemingly without thought. At these times the common tendency is to let our emotions lead us. Our amygdala is hijacked, as Daniel Goleman says (Emotional Intelligence).

Unfortunately, split second reactions can get us into trouble. Once we blurt out our emotional response, things can quickly escalate. Sometimes we cannot reign ourselves in and words – we later regret – spill out. We make quick judgments and assumptions that may be incorrect; historical unresolved (or even resolved) conflicts might get raised; and we often go to blame and other negative places.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to contemplate a dispute when you had a split second reaction.

  • What did the other person say or do to which you had a split second reaction?
  • What did you say or do in your reaction?
  • What were you experiencing emotionally at that time?
  • What did you assume about the other person’s reasons for what she or he said or did?
  • What do you know for sure was correct about your assumption(s)? What wasn’t?
  • What were the consequences of reacting so quickly?
  • Considering the definition of “split second” and the notion of quick reactions, what most resonates about how you reacted?
  • In what ways do you think your “split second” reaction was warranted?
  • What did you discover – after you reacted – that indicated that your “split second” reaction was not warranted?
  • How might you have stopped yourself from reacting?
  • What got in your way of stopping yourself?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Originally posted December 20, 2016

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Reactions | Leave a comment