The Progress Coaching Blog

    Coaching To Avoid Conflict Through Communication

    August 5, 2020 Posted by : Tim Hagen
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    Conflict is, believe it or not, avoidable in the workplace through setting expectations for the quality of communication among members of the team.  The strategy below walks us through how to coach a team member through making improvements to their communication strategy to avoid future conflict.

    Suggested Strategy:

    • Sometimes conflict comes from the lack of confrontation and lack of engaging in difficult conversations. Avoid conflict by setting up a system of communication that is built upon trust. 

    Suggested Questions:

    • Permission-Based Question + The Sword:  With your permission, could I share some observations with you? I’ve been noticing you’ve been demonstrating issues with your teammates and superiors as it relates to conflict. What is your take on that? 
    • Risk Question:  What risk do you assume by not addressing this conflict head on, and what risk do I assume by not acknowledging it? 
    • Self-Actualized Question:  Where do you think this conflict is coming from as it relates to your realm of control?
    • Success Imperative:  What steps can we take together to create a space where we can successfully communicate these feelings of mistrust and avoid conflict in the future?

    Suggested Activities:

    • Setting Expectations:  Engage in a discussion about where things are in terms of conflict and where you ultimately want them to end up. By setting these expectations, you create a system that is built upon trust between you and the individual/team you’re working with on this subject. 
    • GOAL-Based Coaching:  Set some parameters while also encouraging them to grow. What is GREAT about them that they need to boost, what are some OPPORTUNITIES that they can use to grow in order to diminish conflict, what ACTIONS or ACTIVITIES can they practice in order to build those skills, and what do they LOVE about working with teammates? 
    • Role-Play:  Practice what engaging in non-conflict driven or confrontational communication looks like. Many times, people become adjusted to their way of being without being challenged or shown an alternative.

    Suggested Learning Projects:

    • Have your coaching target practice the areas of concern that you discussed through your GOAL-based coaching throughout the week in their daily activities. Have them journal daily two successes and two challenges they encounter and summarize their journal entries to you in an email at the end of the week.  
    • Have the employee practice the skills from self-awareness activity in order to boost their self-awareness. This will be a lengthy journey at times, so don’t expect results right away.

    Supplemental Coaching Strategies:

    • 30-Second Coaching:  Let this person know when they are making positive strides toward the goal of complete success.  Take 30 seconds to tell them specifically what they’ve done well and how their actions are appreciated by you and the team. Be sure that this form of encouragement aligns with areas they respond well to when it comes to positive reinforcement. 
    • Non-Verbal Coaching:  Write your coaching target a note and leave it on their desk when you notice them exhibiting the behaviors and skills that were brainstormed in the activities section. Be specific in describing what they did, when, and why it was appreciated.

    Interested in learning more about coaching conversations?  Click Here for a FREE 30-Day Trial of The Coaching Conversation Training Series!  

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    About Author

    Tim Hagen
    Tim Hagen

    Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. Tim is often a keynote speaker at companies teaching the value of coaching and conversations in the workplace. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges specific to workplace performance. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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