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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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Three Sides to Every Story

When we talk about an interpersonal dispute between two people, we commonly say there are two sides to every story – the other person’s version of events and issues and our own. However, many say there are three sides, and a relevant quote by Jeyn Roberts (Rage Within) is:

“There are three sides to every story.
Yours.
Mine.
What really happened: the truth.”

Honestly, I don’t think referring to the third side as the “truth” is altogether accurate. For me, referring to there being a true side implies right and wrong of the other perspectives, and it seems that’s not altogether the optimal approach. That is, when we are in conflict, it is usual that we each believe our perceptions are truths. We believe in what we say and experience. We might at some level of consciousness realize when and how our emotions interfere and drive our interpretation of the other person and their intent out of proportion. Or, we may be aware our truth contains assumptions and views that are not based on fact. Or, we know we are exaggerating – even fabricating – to serve ourselves.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider an ongoing, unresolved dispute you are involved in when answering the following questions – to consider three sides of the story:

  • What is the situation? What is your side of the story?
  • How might the other person describe their side of the story?
  • What is true for you about the situation that the other person doesn’t know or seem to acknowledge?
  • What don’t you know or understand about the other person’s version of their truth?
  • What is the truth about your contribution that you have some reluctance to share?
  • How might a third person observing the dispute describe what happened?
  • With what might that third person disagree that you said?
  • What is most challenging about facing the truths in this conflict?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching | 2 Comments

Conflict: Blown Out of Proportion

It happens, at times, that our conflicts get blown out of proportion. This means we have a reaction that is too large for the situation. Essentially, that we are treating a problem more seriously than the context merits.

We might let a situation evolve in this way for any number of reasons. It could be we are so hurt that our outrage takes over and we end up fabricating facts to serve us and make the other person wrong. In this regard, we may describe what the other person said or did in ways we interpret them rather than what might be the actual facts. We may have reached our level of tolerance regarding certain behaviours, leading to over-the-top descriptions. We may have a tendency to be overly dramatic or inclined to take on a victim-type role, or we may generally be an exaggerator. These and other reasons may account for why we blow a situation out of proportion.

If you think you have blown a situation our of proportion or maybe, the other person or someone else accused you of doing so, try this set of Conflict Mastery Quest(ions):

  • What is the situation? What impact is this situation having on you?
  • What portion or portions might you be exaggerating?
  • For what reason(s) do you suppose you are making that portion or those portions different than it was or they were?
  • What need do you suppose you are fulfilling by making that portion or those portions bigger than they are?
  • What purpose does it serve to exaggerate the situation?
  • If you hadn’t made that portion or portions bigger, what different impact might there have been or be on you?
  • What different impact would there be on the other person?
  • What might be a more proportionate description of the situation?
  • How does it impact you to describe the situation without blowing it out of proportion?
  • What doesn’t work for you when you do so (your answer to the above question)?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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

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Axe to Grind

You have likely heard of the phrase “axe to grind” and here’s a little story about the derivation of this phrase:

“Benjamin Franklin published a lot of stories, one of which he was the central character. Franklin was approached by a stranger who stopped to admire the family grindstone.  He asked to be shown how it worked and offered Ben Franklin an axe to demonstrate. Once his axe was sharp the stranger walked off laughing.”

Though the expression has taken on quite a different meaning today, the idea of having an axe to grind usually refers to having a grudge or dispute with someone about which we seek some answers, recourse or justice.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider an “axe to grind” you may have with someone – perhaps, a grudge over some action, a dispute between you, an unresolved issue and so on. These questions might help unpack the situation:

  • What is the situation about?
  • What specifically is your axe to grind?
  • What is the ongoing impact on you?
  • What does the other person know about your perspective?
  • What does the other person not know?
  • What is the other person’s axe to grind about you?
  • What is the best-case scenario if things resolve between you and the other person?
  • What is the worst-case scenario if things don’t resolve?
  • What would be different for you if you no longer had an axe to grind?
  • How else might it change the dynamic between you?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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

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The “Flip Side” in Conflict

It is common that we get so caught up in our conflicts that we only see our side. We stick to our perspective and become increasingly entrenched in our position if the other person refutes us. Our defensiveness grows and it becomes harder to consider where the other person is coming from. That is, we don’t see “the flip side”.

The origin of this phrase goes back to the days when music was put on records (remember those?). Each record had one side that had the main recording (hit song) and then there was always another song on the back, which often was completely different than the front song. This song on the back became known as the ‘flip side’.

This phrase then caught on to refer to the fact that arguments usually have more than one side. We, of course, know that, but considering this phrase, this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog asks you to consider a dispute when answering this series of questions to consider its flip side.

  • What conflict situation comes to mind – one in which you have been or are entrenched?
  • About what do you feel most strongly regarding this situation?
  • What makes that especially important to you?
  • How are you contributing to the conflict?
  • What’s the flip side? That is, how would the other person describe what happened?
  • About what does the other person feel most strongly?
  • What might make that especially important to the other person?
  • How might the other person say you are contributing to the conflict?
  • What about the “flip side” do you not understand? What about your side may the other person not understand?
  • What difference does it make to you to consider the “flip side”?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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

Posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching | 2 Comments

Wrong Side of the Bed

Sometimes I wake up in a cranky mood. I expect that happens to you, too, right? It may be due to a restless sleep, worry, an unresolved problem, a confrontation that hovers, and other reasons that seem to result in a negative start to the day.

The derivation of this phrase is interesting. “Wrong side of the bed” apparently comes from a time when “the left side of the bed or anything ‘left’ was considered sinister, mysterious, dangerous or evil. So, innkeepers pushed the left sides of the bed against the walls so that a guest HAD to get up on the right side”. However, today the phrase refers, among other things, to starting the day being irritable and not able to focus or engage effectively.

In my world as a conflict management coach, it is common that clients who say they “get up on the wrong side” (or a similar reference to starting their day poorly) are less resilient and their health and well-being is suffering. At these times, their mindset is negative, and they seem to have a tendency to cause conflict through defensiveness and an imbalance in their ways of interacting. Or, they report reacting to even the slightest provocation. In any case, their reserves are low, and this often has an impact on their interactions.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider the experience of waking up on “the wrong side” and the impact on an interpersonal dispute.

  • What conflict happened between you and the other person when you consider you got up on the wrong side that day (and it had an impact on the interaction)?
  • What contributed to you getting up on the wrong side of the bed?
  • What specific impact did that (your above answer) have on your conflictual interaction with the other person?
  • What impact did it have on the other person?
  • What words describe your mindset that day?
  • If you got up on the “right side of the bed”, what do you suppose you would have done differently?
  • What would the impact be of getting up on the right side on the interaction with the other person?
  • What would the impact be on the outcome of the dispute?
  • What might help you manage the experience of getting out of bed on the wrong side so as to prevent unnecessary conflict?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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

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