Week 3: Chapters 4 and 5 of Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY Model

We're delighted by the great questions and observations in the book discussion so far and look forward to another good week with you all. If you've just found the book discussion, welcome...dive on in!

This week brings us to a discussion of Chapters 4 (The CINERGY Conflict Coaching Model) and 5 (Conflict Management Coaching Skills). Here are some questions to get us started. And, as always, feel free to raise your own.

  1. Which of the intentions discussed in Chapter 4 do you think will be easy for you? Which ones might be a challenge and why?
  2. Are there times when you choose to depart from a specific model when mediating or coaching? If so, what are the circumstances and how do you decide?
  3. If there are coaching skills, like those discussed in Chapter 5, that you need or want to further develop, how do you think you'll go about doing so? What would help you?

Tammy

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Replies to This Discussion

My challenge is to keep the balance between "venting" and constructive conversation about an issue. I don't mind allowing people to vent gives me time to hear how people are feeling, but I can sense a turn in who controls the conversation when the venting turns in to talking that includes absolutes and strong opinions. 

Ch4 has given loads of insights into this which makes me think that I am not the only one who needs to look for the balance. Something that came to mind each time a section of the book touched on venting was to set clear parameters for coaching expectations at the beginning of the relationship and perhaps at the start of each session.

What are your thoughts?

Hi, Kristin! 

I'm so glad you've raised up venting for some reflection. I'm wondering if the challenge you're experiencing is in part caused by the act of venting itself, which, it turns out, is not nearly so beneficial as once thought. Recent research has concluded venting actually increases aggression. So, this information suggests that one way to manage what you're describing is to really curb venting quite a bit. Here's a link to a blog post I wrote about it a while back, Venting: A Good Habit to Break. There's a link there to some of the original research which has other ideas about how to help people do other better things instead.

Tammy



Kristin Lawrence said:

My challenge is to keep the balance between "venting" and constructive conversation about an issue. I don't mind allowing people to vent gives me time to hear how people are feeling, but I can sense a turn in who controls the conversation when the venting turns in to talking that includes absolutes and strong opinions.

Hi Kristin and I too am really glad you raised this aspect of coaching  people in conflict and thank you Tammy for providing additional resources on the important topic of venting.

When I did the initial research to develop the model, I realized  - more than I had with other processes I have conducted -that once clients set their intentions about what they want to accomplish (C stage-Clarify the Goal), they really want to get on with it.That's why they retain me and they are often tired of telling their conflict story to friends and family etc. As I menioned in the book, the facts often become distorted along with the emotions accompanying each iteration.

 

That doesn't mean that emotions about our conflicts aren't important of course. We know they are and so, it's really about managing expectations and being clear on what clients are wanting to achieve -  and as you say Kristin, keeping the balance.

Cinnie

I just want to add to Tammy's great questions and the one specifically about coaching skills.

 

I  am curious to know which, if any, of the skills described in Chapter 5 surprise you, need more explanation and/or affirm your understanding of how coaching works? 

 

For those of you who are coaches, are there other skills you may add?

Cinnie,

Some of the participants in the book discussion have had questions about building the coaching relationship. Since that's a topic you address in Chapter 4 of your book, I thought now would be a good time to return to that conversation.

I'm curious about the situations where you find building the coaching relationship the most challenging and what you do in those moments.

Tammy

Hi, Tammy:

That's a great question about situations in which building the coaching relationship  may be challenging.

 

I can think of several and the one that comes to mind first happens far too often.This is when people are referred  for conflict management coaching in ways that create resistance, suspicion etc.. This occurs for instance, when the person who makes the referral does so in a punitive way  - perhaps, using the process as a form of corrective action. The impact on clients under these circumstances is often shame, anger and a host of other emotions that result in resistance to coaching and me including a lack of trust. Also, when the client has had no say about who  his/her coach is, this sometimes contributes more strain to an already strained situation where they feel 'out of choice'. As a consequence the relationship starts of on a rocky foundation.

I find it important at these times to remain compassionate and non-judgemental and not get into the process until the client is ready. I try a number of things such as  engaging client as a person and not a person in conflict i.e. just finding out more about him/her,  listening to what the resistance is about and what's going on for him/her and explaining anything s/he wants to know about the process, the client's role and my role.

 

Often it helps to assure the client about terms of confidentiality, that I am not an 'agent' of the organization, that I won't go back to the referring person and have a private conversation, that I won't be doing a report, that I am there to help as their champion,  etc. It may be a time the client needs to vent about the referral and the situation(s) that lead to it. Spending time to  build rapport  - slowly - without pushing - is key.

 

The other thing I do when I am finding  referrals are done inappropriately is arrange lunch and learn sessions with 'sponosrs' (referring persons). I have also held open meetings of this nature for HR professionals. At these meetings I talk about what conflict management coaching is and how it works,  terms of confidentialty, the roles of the client, coach and organization, what constitutes a good referral etc.

 

What about you Tammy?

 

And if members of the club want to share experiences in which building the coaching relationship has been challenging - please feel free to do so and what you do.

 

Cinnie

 

P.S. Next week is our last 'meeting' and questions on Chapters 6 and 7 will be posted on Sunday. As always questions and comments about any conflict management coaching topics are welcome.

 

  

Cinnie -

The conditions I find most challenging are not dissimilar to the ones you describe. The first is circumstances where the person to be coached is referred in a manner that's punitive, just as you discussed. The other is in private coaching situations with families where one person or part of the family reaches out to me first, usually with enthusiasm, and the other person or part of the family connects with me later, sometimes with suspicion or downright disinterest.

I've found the most helpful attitude for me to take in those moments is what I'd term "explorational," for lack of a better word. I do not persuade or attempt to persuade. I tell them that we should both view our conversation as a joint exploration about whether or not coaching could be helpful and whether or not I'd be the right person for them if coaching could be helpful. I help them weigh it from all sides and do not rush them. As you said, "Spending time to build rapport -- slowly -- without pushing - is key." I imagine you have similar outcomes: Some of the most disinterested or suspicious prospective clients end up ready and willing to step into coaching with me.

I have to say, I find the intake and coaching relationship building work some of the most satisfying because it sets the stage for everything that comes later!

Tammy, 

The bolt post has great things to keep in mind while that inevitable time of venting comes about, perhaps naming the activity of venting to clients and then letting them know some research findings can help put out that fire.

I am just glad that I do not get emotionally tied up with their emotions during venting. 



Tammy Lenski said:

Hi, Kristin! 

I'm so glad you've raised up venting for some reflection. I'm wondering if the challenge you're experiencing is in part caused by the act of venting itself, which, it turns out, is not nearly so beneficial as once thought. Recent research has concluded venting actually increases aggression. So, this information suggests that one way to manage what you're describing is to really curb venting quite a bit. Here's a link to a blog post I wrote about it a while back, Venting: A Good Habit to Break. There's a link there to some of the original research which has other ideas about how to help people do other better things instead.

Tammy



Kristin Lawrence said:

My challenge is to keep the balance between "venting" and constructive conversation about an issue. I don't mind allowing people to vent gives me time to hear how people are feeling, but I can sense a turn in who controls the conversation when the venting turns in to talking that includes absolutes and strong opinions.

we may hit this in the last few chapters but I was hit with this question while reading ch5. 

On the topic of advice giving:

In mediation process, I keep diligent not to give my advice on how the situation should resolve for many reasons that we are full aware of. But in coaching, i would think that clients want a bit of that in the feed back. That they are looking for MORE than a prices to get to a resolution.

To go back to the athletic analogy, coaches are there to give feedback, critique, and to tell them how to get better (with new skills) in order to beat their competition which the athlete may or may not have knowledge of. I do come from the ideology that people can make their own decisions and they do know what is best for themselves, but in coaching I am of the thought that clients want to be given more options about how to approach a conflict or derailment at work. 

I hear you when you suggest that advice giving comes from our own experiences and value system, so we should stick to the process and the client will come up with solutions that work best for them, I am  hung up on the difference between the roles of a mediator and coach. I think they are different in this respect. 



Cinnie Noble said:

I just want to add to Tammy's great questions and the one specifically about coaching skills.

 

I  am curious to know which, if any, of the skills described in Chapter 5 surprise you, need more explanation and/or affirm your understanding of how coaching works? 

 

For those of you who are coaches, are there other skills you may add?

I just wanted to comment generally that I enjoyed the review of the intentions of each stage of the process; the coach's skill set and the ethical guidelines -- all very helpful in keeping the process on track.

I also like the above comments about getting to know and connect with the client as a person first, before proceeding with the client as a person in conflict. I would think that the added knowledge gained in getting to know the client as an individual helps build rapport, make the client feel safe, helps both coach and client feel a genuine connection; and helps the coach better intuit how to interact with the client (ie, like how/when might be the best way to give feedback).  In a recent teleconference on the polyvegal theory, Stephen Porges said that humans have the basic needs of feeling safe and having good social connections. I see a correlation between the need for safe connections and building that foundation in the coaching relationship.  

Hi Kristin and thank you for your continuing curiosity.

There are some forms of coaching where providing ideas, opinions and advice is done and I expect some people who provide other forms of conflict coaching do so as well.

When I first started to develop the model, I thought there would be circumstances where advice giving would be appropriate and remained conscious of that. What I found was that the study group members and now after coaching many hundreds of  clients, that people do not want advice as much as I thought. In fact, once clients gain confidence and trust in the process, themselves and the coach they develop huge insights and flourish in ways they hadn't expected. It's amazing to witness and so, I got sold on and stick to the no-advice model. This is also consistent with adult learning and neuroscience principles as discussed. As you will have read about the R stage in Chapter 6 - the coach does give feedback here -  based specifically on what the client wants input.

In a recent Discussion on this topic of advice-giving on the Conflict Coaching Guild through LinkedIn  http://tinyurl.com/conflictcoachingguild (it is necessary to be a member of LinkedIn to access this), some members talked about when they give direction as a coach. For example, if clients don't know about certain policies, processes, and other information about which the coach is aware. I fully get  this and understand there are times when coaches think it appropriate and necessary to provide direction.

Cinnie


 

Hi Patty:

Thank you for your comments and for adding the information about the polyvegal theory. I don't know it but I agree that feeling safe and having social connections are common basic needs and I too see that for  the coach-client relationship to thrive, these vital ingredients would form part of that foundation.

Cinnie 

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