Welcome to this month's virtual book club! Over the month, my co-facilitator Tammy Lenski and I will be posting questions about the book and topic of conflict management coaching and we invite you to post your own questions and comments too.
We are going to be considering two chapters each week beginning this week with the Introduction and Chapter One. However as a starting point, we want to know something about you and your interest in conflict management coaching. Please feel free to answer one or both of the following questions:
+ What attracted you to the book and topic of conflict management coaching?
If you have specific questions or comments about the Introduction and Chapter One of the book at this time, please feel free to post those.
We look forward to 'talking' with you!
I meant metaphysically because I am not sure if some disputants have spent much time on planet earth! I am neither a judge or lawyer.
Tammy Lenski said:
I noticed you used the language, "when they appear before me." Are you also an attorney or a judge, in addition to being a mediator?
I ask because I'm interested in your thinking about the potential relationship between conflict coaching and court-associated ADR...not need to answer this last question yet, of course, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as the book group progresses.
John C. Turley said:
I spend most of my time mediating cases. I am interested in the concept of conflict management to understand how and why people engage in conflict. Why do they appear before me, particularly when the mediation sessions usually go smoothly with positive outcomes. I basically understand based on the CU education, but I find that the experience in the field as a mediator is where I am learning more and maturing. My mentors have been invaluable. The people in the field are very smart and wise with varied backgrounds and experiences.
Thank you for such a detailed reply.
Yes, I think there will be a trial and experimental phase as i change course from mediation to coaching. It will be interesting to see how clients interact with different methods.
It seems clear enough that people need help to even define what their goals are and what a certain challenge/conflict means for them. Then, to keep that understanding and ultimately their goal in front of them while gaining competencies is the coaching trick. Sports coaches consistently and constantly have visuals up as reminders of what the athlete wants to achieve. Currently, I act as a personal trainer, and for some of my clients is it as simple as hanging a pair of their "skinny" jeans on the wall at work so they do not go into the refrigerator for the daily cake and soda grazing.
I look forward to diving further into your methods and chatting more...
Cinnie Noble said:
Hi Kristin and welcome to the discussion. You ask a great question.
Generally-speaking, I think many of us have learned how to manage conflict by either reacting (and often strongly and ineffectively) when there are interpersonal differences between and among us. Or we wait until things have escalated before addressing the problems. Or, we hope that things won't evolve and just go away. On this basis we don't focus our energies on gaining conflict intelligence to be able to effectively and competently engage in conflict. If we as practitioners employ more proactive approaches, I like to think we can effect change about how we learn to 'be' in conflict. I like to also think it not only helps the individuals that we assist (peacebuilding - one person at a time as my motto goes) but ultimately serves a systemic function too.
You are right - the Promise of Mediation and other transformative practices influenced the development of the CINERGY model. Similarly as outlined in Chapter 1, priniciples from narrative, solution-focused and insight mediation processes are inherent in the framework. In actual fact as you read, I developed the model through experiential study and for a long time, I would say it was a practice looking for a theory. I examined what helped my study group members shift their way of thinking about and managing their conflicts and it became evident that a range of coaching and mediation and neuroscience priniciples inherently informed and formed the 7 stages.
To more directly answer your question about focusing clients, I find it is very important as a starting point to ensure the clients are clear on what they want to achieve in coaching.This is consistent with neuroscience and coaching principles. In fact, in my intake process (discussed in Chapter 3) I ask each client to consider and come prepared to identify what s/he hopes to accomplish in coaching. This is not always an easy task and it is time well spent for clients and coaches alike to be clear on this. That is, the clients' goal becomes the beacon for them and for the coach. After ascertaining that fundamental objective the 7 steps provide a process that incrementally builds on goal attainment by increasing the clients' self- awareness before coaching them to decide and implement action steps according to what they want to have happen. The coach's role among other things, is to help keep each client focused on the goal and the process and note when they may be straying from their intention.
The line of questioning starting with questions such as above i.e. 'what do you want to achieve in coaching?' are of course, dependent on so many variables. The initial queries may also include:'How will you know when you have reached that goal?' or 'How will you measure your progress (success)?'. The process by virtue of its methodology keeps clients attuned to their goal. If they appear to stray questions may be, 'How is that relevant to your goal?' 'Where does that fit with your goal?'
It is also important to note that sometimes clients change their goals as they gain increased insight through the process. The coaches' responsibility includes noticing that too and being where the client is when that happens.
I hope that is helpful and Tammy may have some suggestions too.
Thanks for participating, Kristin.
Kristin Lawrence said:
Hi Cinnie, Tammy & all,
My name is Kristin, I am super excited to read this book with you. I am new to the coaching field, for the last 4 years I have been working as a mediator and a RJ facilitator, my masters is in DR and conflict management from SMU which I think prepared me well for those roles.
Recently I relocated with family to the SF Bay area and have decided to reformulate my conflict practice, and focus on conflict coaching. I am looking forward to this book to help me gain insights into how mediation differs from coaching while developing a systematic method that I can use with clients. Dr. Folger's work inspires me as it makes the most sense to helping people in conflict, so far I can hear a hint of influence on your practice so I am sure that I will enjoy your ideology and methods as well.
In the first chapter, the information on neuroscience and coaching is new to me. I get that understanding neuroscience will help us understand how we make decisions (which in turn helps us help client) but I have not had the chance to dive too far into it. What line of questioning, do you take with clients that keep them focused long enough on a particular challenge, that will help them to gain new perspectives on how they want to move forward with that challenge?
That's all for now,
Your comments indicate that you plan to move to coaching from mediation and in that regard I don't think practitioners have to do one process exclusively. I have trained many mediators who are adding conflict management coaching to their tool box so that they provide a range of services. For instance, I still provide mediation and facilitiation in addition to my coaching work (which I do more of) . Being able to do so means I have more to offer my clients depending on their needs.
Just as with personal trainers, coaches use different tools to help clients keep their eyes on the outcomes they desire, and as you have indicated, they may be visual cues. A few others examples include using metaphors, visioning techniques or story-telling i.e. of the new script they plan to use.
Looking forward to our continuing conversation.
Cinnie Noble said:
Thank you John for this and please feel free to ask any questions along the way that will help you gain more knowledge about conflict management coaching.
It's so great to have a forum like this Jeff to do exactly that. Kudos to you indeed (to reflect Tammy's comments) for your creativity and ongoing efforts to link our community of practice and facilitate continuous learning.