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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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KNOWING WHEN TO WALK AWAY

I really like this quote, for many reasons. For one, it reminds me that some conflicts are just not reconcilable. It happens that, at times, what another person says or does is totally unacceptable. Under these circumstances, and others that are really not solvable, there’s good reason to walk away and to believe in, respect and trust ourselves – to not give in, or fight, or try to change the other person.

This quote also reminds me that it takes courage to act on our beliefs, to face the situation face on, and boldly move on and away. Of course, it’s not so easy to walk away from some people and some situations. However, to do so with dignity and our heads held high means different things to different people. It may be that we do not second-guess, agonize or criticize ourselves after we courageously walk away. Rather, it is to show the wisdom and strength of our convictions by removing ourselves from a situation that is unproductive and unhealthy AND celebrating our dignified, bold selves for doing so.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog asks you to consider a conflict situation where you want to walk away and show wisdom and courage and dignity in doing so.

  • What is the situation?
  • What specifically is compelling you to walk away?
  • What worries you most about doing so?
  • What is wise about doing so?
  • In other situations when you have acted wisely, what inner strength did you draw on that helped you?
  • What does it usually take for you to be courageous? What inner strength do you know you have to be courageous?
  • How will those traits (from answers to above two questions) – and others you have – facilitate your forward movement?
  • What will your first step be?
  • What are the next steps?
  • How will you make sure you walk away with dignity?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict
#conflictmanagement
#conflictresolution
#questions
#ADR

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“BUT I WAS HUNGRY…”

I saw this quote in a restaurant and it gave me a big smile. It’s an occupational hazard that I see quotes such as these through a conflict management lens. As it happens, I considered this one ‘blog-worthy’!

In actual fact, it’s likely that our physical state can add to our emotional state when we become provoked, and not help our responses and how we hear things. Feeling hungry, fatigued, achy, unwell, stressed and other states of unbalance and vulnerability may well motivate us to react quicker and with more vehemence. When this is the case, we might act in ways we regret and provoke others into reactions (that they, too, may regret).

For this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog, consider a time when you know your physical state contributed to an interpersonal conflict:

  • What was the situation?
  • What about your physical state contributed to your reaction?
  • In what ways did your physical state contribute, i.e. what did you say or do?
  • What happened between you and the other person as a consequence of your reaction?
  • What would you have preferred to say or do?
  • How did you explain yourself and your reaction, if you did? What understanding, if any, did the other person demonstrate in response to your explanation?
  • What other physical states can you think of that have contributed to interacting in ways that are unproductive?
  • What are the lessons you are learning from these questions?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict
#conflictmanagement
#conflictresolution
#questions
#ADR

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YOUR VERSION IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY

There are so many quotes that I find interesting and this is one of them. I don’t know who wrote it, but it is a variation of similar sentiments expressed in other quotes that I also like such as, “What others think of me is none of my business”. My blog this week is about the underlying theme of these quotes as they pertain to how we think we are perceived and how this may contribute to conflict.

Think for a moment about a certain relationship in which things are unsettled. You may have had a falling out – or not – but, there is tension between you and a friend, colleague or family member and it’s creating anxiety and uncertainty. You may have made assumptions about the other person and their reasons for conducting themselves in certain ways that add to your growing apprehension about them and your relationship. This likely works both ways. That is, not only might you be perceiving things about the other that may (or may not) apply. They are also about you.

It is also common to create versions in our minds about the other person’s perceptions of us. We might let such thoughts enter our minds as we process the conflict and the impact it is having. And, the versions we and the other person create about one another may or may not be real. In any case, as the quote says, the other person is not responsible for our perceptions of them. Nor, are we responsible for their perceptions of us. Our perceptions are just that – they are what we each conjure up as a consequence of the emotions and other dynamic occurring between us.

If this topic appeals to you, consider these questions and see if any resonate for you:

  • What conflict already happened or is currently going on between you and the other person that has led to you wondering about their perceptions of you?
  • How, more specifically, might the other person have made those perceptions (i.e. what did you say or do or not say or do)?
  • What part of what they might be perceiving is not legitimate based on your interactions?
  • As far as you can tell, what version of you or the events between you that the other person is holding onto might be prolonging resolution of the conflict? How might you find out their version?
  • What perception do you have of the other person and their contribution?
  • What might they say they do not own about your perception(s)?
  • As far as you can tell, what about your perception of that person and the events is prolonging the conflict?
  • In what ways is the person’s version of you your responsibility? How so?
  • In what way is your version of the other person their responsibility? How so?
  • What version of the conflict and the other person might you consider as possible to help facilitate a shift in your thinking and feelings?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict
#conflictmanagement
#conflictresolution
#questions
#ADR

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BURYING THE HATCHET

“Nobody ever forgets where he [sic] buried the hatchet.”
Kin Hubbard

This quote gave me a smile because I often hear situations from clients in my conflict management coaching practice about interactions that happened long ago with the person they are currently embroiled with in a dispute. They can easily describe the details as though it happened yesterday. This is often while saying that these matters had been resolved. For instance, clients might use this expression – ‘buried the hatchet’ – to indicate the previous dispute is over and yet, the same feelings seem to prevail. It sounds as though that hatchet didn’t really get buried!

In some research I did a few years ago, I found that the initial altercation or even a set of circumstances that started tension between many people can begin a trajectory that escalates over time (even if no external conflict occurs). That is, once irritated about certain behaviours, words or attitudes, we often tend to continue to react to similar or even different triggers with that person and build on our annoyances until they turn into disdain.

At these times, it is evident that attributions about the person’s motives often become increasingly negative such that they have little chance of redeeming themselves. At some point we may engage in a discussion in which our (mutual) feelings are shared, and the issues are seemingly resolved. But it happens for many that things aren’t fully resolved, and the hatchet is not always buried.

If you can think of a situation about which the hatchet has not been yet buried, this set of questions might be helpful to reflect on:

  • What is that situation about which the hatchet is not yet buried?
  • What is the hatchet for you?
  • What more specifically makes that unresolved for you?
  • What are you not letting go of or forgiving?
  • What are you gaining by not burying the hatchet? What are you losing?
  • What would things be like if you were able to bury the hatchet?
  • What could the other person say or do that might help you facilitate the burying of the hatchet? What might keep them from saying or doing that?
  • What might the hatchet be for the other person?
  • What might you do to facilitate burying of the hatchet for that person?
  • What keeps you from doing that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict
#conflictmanagement
#conflictresolution
#questions
#ADR

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SILENCE AS ARGUMENT

“Silence is argument carried out by other means.”
Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Though some might say ‘silence is golden’, it isn’t always the case that being silent is experienced positively when in conflict. This quote by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara is an interesting one in this regard. That is, if we are trying to engage another person in a discussion about something important to us, being met by silence can serve to create tension, especially if the person does not appear present and concerned. At these times, silence may be interpreted as passive-aggressive, a lack of caring, patronizing, and other such attributions.

We may also often tend to attribute feelings and thoughts to those who remain silent and assume their views on the matter is not in agreement with our own. In this regard, we may conjure up reasons that the other person doesn’t own, and we may become frustrated and consider the other person is arguing by their silence. Generally, we experience this sort of interpretation as not feeling heard, of being stopped from discussing our respective perspectives on a matter, or of being thwarted and put down.

If you tend to remain silent when in conflict, or find it annoying when others do and do not respond to you, these questions might offer some insight:

  • Considering a time someone remained silent when you wanted them to respond, what specifically did you want from them (to say, show, etc.)?
  • How did you experience their silence?
  • How did you interpret their silence as an argument (if you did)?
  • What specifically made it so (your answer to the previous question)?
  • Looking back on this, what might you have said or asked to address the person’s silence at the time?
  • When you have remained silent when someone else expected a response from you, what was the situation about?
  • For what reason did you stay silent?
  • What about your silence might have been interpreted as argumentative?
  • What else might the other person have attributed to you about your silence?
  • What did you want to say that you didn’t? What kept you from doing so?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflict
#conflictmanagement
#conflictresolution
#questions
#ADR
#silence

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Silence | 5 Comments