Conflict Coaching: A Critical Tool in ADR

I recently had the opportunity to attend a three-day Conflict Coaching Training program lead by conflict coaches Tricia Jones and Bobbi Dillon, of Conflict Coaching Matters, LLC. If you are not familiar with conflict coaching, it is based on one-on-one coaching to help the individual develop a better understanding of the conflict, the ideal and most likely outcomes, the strategy needed to obtain that outcome, and and the skills required to implement the strategy. The training program offered by Tricia Jones and Bobbi Dillon was exceptional, and I would highly recommend this training duo for anyone wanting to learn conflict coaching.

From a practical aspect, as we learned about the techniques used in conflict coaching, it became clear how well conflict coaching would integrate with a mediation practice. In an ideal mediator’s world, every dispute would have the parties in conflict ready, willing and able to come to the table to negotiate a win/win resolution to the conflict. Unfortunately, the real world tells us otherwise. We have all had potential clients come to us wanting information about mediation, but knowing, or assuming that the party with whom they are in conflict will not mediate. Or, the potential client may want to know how to have a conversation with the other party to suggest mediation, because, as we know, these are challenging conversations for many people.

The potential client needs help, and we can help find the solution by either offering conflict coaching or making the proper referral to a conflict coach. At this point of contact, there is a significant opportunity to help the individual find a way to resolve the conflict, but the way forward requires conflict coaching. Here the meditator must either step away from the role as potential mediator and into coaching or, make a referral to a conflict coach. If we act as a coach or make the referral we create an extraordinary opportunity for the individual to find the right resolution. That person needs help to develop a complete picture of the dispute and to improve the skills required to resolve the conflict in the best manner possible. The opportunity to provide this service or referral expands our ability to meet and exceed the needs of the potential client in a way that is consistent with our mission and within the context of our practice.

Feel free to contact me about how conflict coaching might be of use in your practice or dispute.