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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.

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Do You Always Like You?

There are times many of us interact in ways we’re not very proud of. It may be because we are reacting to what someone is saying or doing. It may be because we aren’t  getting our way on something we wanted to have happen. It may be because we are hurt, angry, feeling betrayed, jealous, disappointed, trying to assert ourselves, getting pushback on something important to us that we value, and so on.

Interpersonal conflicts often bring out the worst in us and are when we act and react in ways that do not serve us well – reflecting ways we don’t want to be or be seen. We don’t always like ourselves at these times and it’s likely the other person in our interaction doesn’t like us either! Nor do others who observe us.

For some of us this does not matter. We like ourselves if we met ourselves anyway.  Others of us do not want to be perceived in ways that do not reflect characteristics that we take pride in. We do not like ourselves at these times. This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider an interpersonal dispute in which you interacted in a way or ways you didn’t like as you answer these questions:

  • What was the dispute about?
  • What did you want to have happen that didn’t?
  • What did the other person say or do that was especially hard to hear, hurtful, upsetting etc.?
  • As you look back on that situation – what about your answer to the last question resulted in you reacting in ways that you don’t like?
  • How would you describe that reaction?
  • When you think about it now, what do you prefer you had said or done that you would like?
  • What got in your way of responding the way you prefer?
  • If someone you care about observed you – during the time you reacted in ways you didn’t like – how might that person describe you and how you reacted?
  • What would you prefer that same person would say about you and how you interacted in the conflict instead?
  • What sorts of things might you do the next time you find yourself becoming provoked that would prevent you from interacting in ways you don’t like?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict management
#disputeresolution

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The Aim of Argument

It seems that sometimes when we begin to have an argument with someone the focus isn’t on moving things forward. We might find ourselves getting stuck in blame, spending time asserting our perspective, disagreeing on the ‘right’ outcome, becoming angrier and resentful, and demonstrating other destructive reactions that keep us from progressing in constructive ways.

Emotions get the best of us the more we argue to be right and make the other person wrong! Once that happens and our amygdala is hijacked, reasoning and problem-solving get lost. Restoring the relationship, regaining equilibrium and resolving matters no longer fit into the dynamic. The aim of argument, as in the quote that heads this blog, doesn’t have any chance at these times.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider an argument you are currently involved in or recently have been in as you answer these questions:

  • What’s the argument about?
  • What were you thinking about as things ramped up?
  • What three words describe your reactions?
  • What is/was your aim in this altercation?
  • What is/was the other person’s version of the argument?
  • What is/was the other person’s aim?
  • What did you observe and hear about their reactions?
  • Where do you two differ most in your perspectives? Where is there common ground?
  • What specifically impeded your progress in resolving the argument other than what you may have considered already? What impeded the other person from progressing other than what you might have considered so far?
  • What do you need to do or say to facilitate progress?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict management
#disputeresolution

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

RESPONDING TO CONFLICT

When we become embroiled in an interpersonal conflict it’s common that we easily lose track of what’s important to us. Rather, we might tend to put our energy into reacting to the dynamic of the dispute. This might be by defending ourselves, blaming, criticizing, name-calling and other signs of our negative state of mind. What often makes our reactions worse and even less constructive is if our resilience is low. If we are fatigued, worn down, stressed and beleaguered by various things in our lives we lack the wherewithal to effectively respond. Our ‘cups’ are empty!

At these times our ability to reflect, to center and balance ourselves, to consider not only our perspective but also where the other person might be coming from, to see the opportunity that exists in the dynamic to better understand one another – and other possible positive outcomes can get lost. Being ‘on empty’ leaves us unable to effectively engage with the other person in a productive manner and be resilient when the conflict overwhelms us and our energy.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a dispute you are in or have recently been in and see if your answers to the following questions help give you back some focus that is more constructive and helps the emptiness.

  • What’s the situation about?
  • What is bothering you most about it?
  • How might you rate your current level of resilience on a scale of 1-10 (10 being very high)?
  • What’s keeping you in a low resilience place right now if your answer to the above question indicates it’s lacking (below 7 let’s say)?
  • How might your level of resilience and emptiness have an impact on your ability to engage effectively in the dispute you referred to?
  • If ‘empty’ is a word you’d use to describe what you are also experiencing about the conflict and how to manage it what might help fill that space to make you feel better and more resilient?
  • What negative feelings about the other person and/or their position on the situation are weighing you down most?
  • When your level of resilience is higher tha
    n the number you indicated in the above question what’s different for you – in general?
  • If you were in that higher state of resilience and faced with this sort of situation what more positive frame might you consider about the other person and their ‘come-from’ in the dispute you referred to?
  • What do you need or want to do for yourself before you feel ready to productively engage in a discussion with the other person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#resilience
#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict management
#disputeresolution
#apology

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Biting Our Tongue

The first job I had after graduating university was teaching English as a second language. One of the classes I taught occurred once students had reached a high level of fluency – and  it was about the use of idioms and metaphors. I didn’t realize how strange metaphors and idioms sound to people learning different languages till then. Sometimes the phrases resonated with similar ones used in various cultures. Sometimes not. We shared stories about the meaning and gave examples and laughed a lot!! One example is unrelated to today’s blog but worthy of mention because we all laughed really hard about it. When we answer the door or a call for someone who is busy we might say, ‘Sorry, he’s tied up right now.’ To people who have learned the literal meaning of the words ‘tied up’ this answer would be quite alarming!

So, saying ‘I bit my tongue’ as a way of saying I kept myself from saying something I would  regret, or ‘ I didn’t want to eat my words’ as a way of saying I didn’t want to admit my mistake, were not the easiest concepts to grasp. Today’s blog is about how you might consider deconstructing one of your disputes when you would say or did say you bit your tongue, and another when you wished you’d eaten your words!

  • As you bring to mind an interpersonal  dispute in which you bit your tongue from saying what was on your mind to say, what was that conflict about?
  • What were you thinking to say – or on the brink of saying – when you ‘bit your tongue’?
  • What hurt most – biting your tongue or not saying what was on your mind?
  • What compelled you to hold back from what you were going to say?
  • What different outcome might there have been if you had not bit your tongue?
  • What did you lose by not saying what you were going to? What did you gain?
  • Now, as you bring to mind another interpersonal dispute  in which you wished you had ‘eaten your words’, what was that one about?
  • What words did you utter that you wished you hadn’t?  What were the consequences of not eating your words?
  • How might you describe what the ‘taste’ might have been for you (metaphorically) if you had eaten your words?
  • And what was the ‘taste’ of not doing so?
  • Under what circumstances do you think it’s a good idea to ‘eat your words’? To ‘bite your tongue’?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict management
#disputeresolution

Posted in Conflict Management Coaching | Leave a comment

Is Your Perspective Written in Stone?

It seems when we are in conflict that we often tend to develop and hold onto our perspective as though it’s absolute – written in stone as it were. The more entrenched we become – due to the emotional attachment to our views and upset we are experiencing by the other person and their views – the more we reactive we are. And, at these times, we are  less inclined to listen, want to listen, and consider possibilities that might serve the outcome, the relationship and us better.

It’s challenging, at these times, to stand back – to gain distance – and lighten the hold on our rightness. This  week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to do that regarding a dispute you are experiencing that is not resolving.

  • What is the dispute about?
  • What perspective do you have that you realize you are strongly holding onto?
  • What is the other person’s perspective that they are holding onto?
  • What makes your perspective one that is hard for you to soften?
  • What makes the other person’s one that is hard for them to soften?
  • If your view of how to resolve things is not written in stone what other possibilities are there for a resolution of the issues?
  • How might that or those work for you (your answer your the previous question)?
  • How might that or those possibilities work for the other person?
  • Knowing where the other person is coming from and that nothing is really written in stone, what might you say that they would consider as a possible way (or ways) to move forward?
  • What would you want to hear from them that would inspire you to consider another way or other ways to do so?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict management
#disputeresolution

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