Conflict Coaching Reflective Journal Essay Example

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13CONFLICT COACHING REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Conflict Coaching Reflective Journal

Table of Contents

3Introduction

4Delivery of learning and workshop

5Critical Learning Moments from Readings

5Problem solving strategies at workplace and within the community

6Addressing interpersonal conflicts

7Critical Learning Moments from the Workshop

7Open-ended questions

8Transfer conflict coaching in Saudi Arabia

8Effects of conflict coaching

9Ethics in Conflict Coaching

10Future societal and organisational applications

11Conclusion

12References

Introduction

In respect to the subject of conflict coaching, I gained a formidable understanding of what the process entails, the relevance and significance of the practice, as well as its application in real life settings. This is based on the outcome of the readings and the workshop.

I therefore promote the idea that conflict coaching should be framed as an individualised approach to managing conflict where an intercessor employs the combined techniques of dispute resolution skills, interpersonal communication and coaching. Conflict coaching provides a safe environment that enables an individual to share his situations and perspectives without any fear or threats. Conflict coaching is on the other hand a resourceful mechanism that integrates the fields of conflict management and coaching to help individuals to improve their conflict management skill and understanding of conflicts (Noble, 2008, p.2).

On reflection of the learning moments at the workshop and on the basis of the prescribed readings, I reason that coaching should not be regarded as counselling or therapy. Rather, it should be viewed as a solution-oriented activity that leads to self-empowerment, reflection and self-awareness. Indeed, it is based on this thesis statement that I explore the learning moments from a workshop on conflict coaching that took place between June 12 and 15 June 2014, from where I experienced two learning moment during a coaching simulation as a coach, including addressing interpersonal conflicts, and problem solving strategies at the workplace and within the community. I further explore two additional learning moments from the prescribed readings, namely the use of open-ended questions, and the need to transfer conflict coaching to Saudi Arabia.

Delivery of learning and workshop

I further observed that the training is experiential and presents regular opportunities to undertake simulated coaching as well as review the experiences and to identify learning points or moments into future practice. Additionally, there were other varied activities conducted in groups and in pairs that enabled me to explore my task as a conflict coach. I also took advantage of the opportunity to explore my own experiences, attitudes and thoughts about my own personal challenges while coaching clients and how to address the challenges.

Participants in the workshop acted as both a coach, client and observes. I believe this was based on the premise that people tend to have a better experience of being a coach and a client when they work with real conflict situations. In the workshop, participants were requested to attend the training while prepared to explore into real conflict scenarios they currently experience or have witnessed.

I learnt a lot as a coach in respect to asking questions and the consequent impact of using open-ended questions as well as the adverse effects of incorrect summary. The training allowed for the prospect of exploring a range of approaches to communication as well as an opportunity to gain an insight into improper communication strategies that can generate unexpected outcomes. The approach expanded the possibility of positive coaching outcomes using any form of communication.

The conflict coaching workshop challenged my experiences and understanding of conflict in addition to how to undertake effective response to conflicts. Similar to mediation, I observed that coaching is a discipline that needs constant reflection and improvement in order for a client to be supported in responding instinctively to unresolved conflicts.

Critical Learning Moments from Readings

Problem solving strategies at workplace and within the community

Among the experiences gathered during the learning moments include problem solving strategies for managing conflicts at workplace. This is particularly so in tricky situations where one of the conflicting parties refuses to take part in the mediation (Brinkert, 2006, p. 250). Conflict is itself a situation where one party has a strong conviction that his interests deeply contrast or are negatively affected by the other party (Tidwell, 1997, p.311). In my view, such a situation is tricky since most conflicting resolution strategies tend to be focused on dealing with situations where both conflicting parties are present. In such a situation, I learnt about the pertinent systematic methods that can be applied, such as Problem Solving for one (PS1) (Tidwell, 1997, p.309-310). Indeed, a significant challenge in conflict resolution has often been making all parties involved in the conflict to take part in the mediation since the level of enemty, anger and animosity may be so high to enable their participation (Tidwell, 1997, p.309).

In using PS1, I learnt that the coach first presents a preamble and introduction to outline the PS1 process and to clarify different expectations. Afterwards, the coach requests the individual who is in conflict to describe the conflict situation. This enables the coach to establish the essential facts the individual perceives. Later, the coach makes inferences about the individual’s state of mind. As a coach, I must also appreciate the level of conflict.

Later, as a coach, I have to lead the client into conflict analysis. At this stage, I learnt that the objective is to help the client to dissent into the conflict in a bid to help the client to establish a perspective. Hence, the client gains an understanding into the conflict as well as about himself. From the readings, conflict mapping can be used at this point, where the client is led through drawing a diagram of the problem (Tidwell, 1997, p.309).

Next, as a coach, I have to lead the client through generation of alternatives and costing. My understanding of the essence of this process is that it aims to enable the client to develop varied likely alternatives that can be applied in handling the conflict. The brainstorming techniques can be used at this stage to come up with the latent options.

Lastly, as a coach, I have to lead the client through development of communication strategies. In my view, this stage is critical since it would be useless to ask the client to use the strategy when he lacks the essential communication skills to help him through the process (Tidwell, 2001, p.250-251).

Towards this end, it became clear that the strategy is primarily designed to fill the void that has resulted from the mainstream practice or conflict coaching or mediation. Many coaches engage the PS1, although in unplanned fashion. Despite the PS1 being a hypothetical remedy for the many conflict situations that individuals experience it offers significant assistance to coaching clients (Tidwell 1997, p.317). In my present understanidng, PS1 is vital tool that coaches can apply in helping individuals who are in conflict by combining several strategies such as conflct analysis, generatig options and deveoping communication strategies.

Addressing interpersonal conflicts

Conflict coaching combines the key principles of conflict management and executive coaching hence presenting a scenario where individuals can be helped to address interpersonal conflicts (Noble 2008, p.1). In taking this perspective, one of the experiences during the learning moments was how to effectively use the techniques of conflict coaching to help leaders and other to solve interpersonal conflicts. Relevant readings have indicated that many organisations seek to react to conflicts instead of seeking preventing measures. In which case, conflict coaching is relevant in such scenarios as it presents effective and proactive approach that the community and organisational leaders can use to gain interpersonal skills in order to become conflict competent leaders. In return, the leaders can help their staff to resolve conflicts through conflict coaching.

In this respect, I learnt that the coaching sessions for these scenarios should be centred on the leaders’ conflict management needs and goals. For instance, it can be applied generally to enable the individual leaders to install counterproductive behaviours, approaches, and skills to their workforce. Additionally, the conflict coaching may focus on disputes. In this case, the managers are made to focus on resolving certain dispute that is on-going or to prevent one from spiralling (Noble 2008, p.2-4).

Critical Learning Moments from the Workshop

Open-ended questions

Since the role of the conflict coach is essentially to facilitate negotiation, I believe that agreement should originate from the individuals in conflict rather than the coach. In my view, a technique that can effectively promote such neutrality is that of skilled questioning to elicit the critical facts of the conflict, clarify the narrative of the conflict and to discard emotional currents. I learnt that open-ended questions are greatly effective in this regard. Once am connected to a client, asking open-ended questions instead of questions that get to the core of the problems — such as “what do you picture can be the positive outcome of this conflict?” — help the clients to discover their expectations, needs, hopes and value. Clients are also able to unbundle intricacies of the ongoing conflict as open-ended questions trigger self-reflection.

I learnt that when questions are asked appropriately, the likelihood of gaining satisfactory outcome increases. On reflection of the simulated coaching sessions, open-ended questions can stimulate thoughtfulness in a manner that increases awareness. In turn, the clients are triggered to consider a range of perspectives and to dissociate themselves from habitual ways of perception or approaching conflicts.

Transfer conflict coaching in Saudi Arabia

A key learning experience is that conflict management styles vary across cultures. Hence, conflict coaching has to take the fundamental cultural differences into perspective. In Saudi Arabia, the conflict coaching process is still a novel strategy for resolving problems. Indeed, several studies have examined conflicting management styles in the country and reached a conclusion that the concept is still new due to the cultures such as ego-clashes and communication gap (Sasidhar, 2012, p.322). According to Sasidhar (2012, p.322), while the common models of resolving conflicts are through management intervention and at individual level, mutual compromise is more prevalent. This presents grounds to transfer conflict coaching process to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Effects of conflict coaching

From both the readings and the workshop, I quickly learnt that coaches should work collaboratively with teams and individuals. This, in my view, is conditioned if the desired outcomes, increased awareness and supporting environments that instil constructive relationships have to be attained. To this end, I entertained the perception that coaching mainly entails unlocking an individual’s potential for growth by maximising their individual performance, such as in resolving conflicts. Hence, rather than teaching individuals to learn, I should help individuals to learn. Conflict coaching is therefore a form of professional coaching, which refers to a establishing a lasting professional relationship to help individuals to achieve extraordinary results in their careers, lives and businesses.

I also learnt that coaching increases awareness of likely conflicting situations. This is since the coach helps the clients to become more informed about their capacity to instigate conflicts and how their surrounding environments can either support to resolve the conflicts. Additionally, it increases the client’s understanding of their personal situations as well as how they plan to behave or handle volatile situations in future.

I also developed an understanding on how conflict coaching increases individual’s choices. I learnt that coaches support their clients into gaining better perspectives of conflicts and new alternatives as well as develop their individual ideas on how to recreate and direct themselves when faced with conflicts. Additionally, conflict coaching increases capacity and confidence. This is since as a coach, I learnt that encouraging the clients to identify their capacities and competencies in respect to resolving conflicts in their personal lives or at the workplace is vital if the conflicts have to be kept at minimal. It also enables clients to recognise the resources that they apply to boost their self-confidence and capacities to master explosive situations.

Ethics in Conflict Coaching

Like any other practice that involves working with clients, I realise that conflict coaching is a practice that sets the activity apart as a professional practice. In my view, adhering to the code of ethics, such as International Coach Federation (ICF) Code of Ethics, distinguishes a professional coach from a non-professional one since it enables a professional coach to conduct himself in consistency with the coaching profession, principles of coaching and compliance with the laws and regulations.

Hence, as a coach, I observed that I should obtain the required credential, avoid getting entwined in personal issues that may lead to conflicting interests, I should respect the client and his right of confidentiality as well as avoid making misleading statements to the client. This is since conflict coaching is a voluntary, non-judgemental, and confidential one-on-one activity with an affected party. In addition, I have to honour the agreements or contracts entered into with the clients as well as grant my potential clients rights of consents by explaining to them the nature of my practice without making any misleading claims.

Future societal and organisational applications

I endeavour to apply conflict coaching in the workplace to resolve conflicts that result from bullying at the workplace. This will particularly be significant in Saudi Arabia where the concept of conflict coaching is yet to take root. With my new understanding that bullying is almost invisible and non-physical action which often results to workplace violence, approaching such forms of unresolved conflict at the workplace will be relatively easy. Bullying is a form of non-verbal psychological violence that contributes to unproductive workforce (Namie & Namie, 2009, p.205). However, studies have indicated that despite the willingness by the victims to report bullying to employers, most employers do not offer effective counselling as a result leading to unresolved conflict (Namie, 2003, p.2; Saam, 2009, p.22). Indeed, a number of studies have associated prevalence of bullying at the workplace to weak leadership (Namie & Namie, 2009, p.207).

In my view therefore, restorative interventions offered to the employees and teams that are at risk can effectively resolve such conflicts. For instance, conflict coaching to the identified perpetrators in addition to identifying individuals who have suffered damage to offer counselling can reduce cases of bullying (Namie, 2003, p.5). I believe that by applying the conflict coaching tools learned throughout this semester, I will be able to resolve cases of bullying at my workplace in future.

Conclusion

I feel confident that I have acquired immense knowledge on how to carry out the role of a conflict coach. On reflection of the learning moments at the workshop and on the basis of the prescribed readings, I come to the conclusion that coaching should not be regarded as counselling or therapy. Rather, it is a solution-oriented activity that leads to self-empowerment, reflection and self-awareness.

Learning on individual basis and training others on how to create more efficient methods of responding to conflicts, is in my understanding, an opportunity to gain insight into effective conflict resolution. The training imparted clear set of philosophies, skills and principle in addition to approaches that enabled me to become equipped with the foundations for effective conflict coaching practice. To this end, it was easy to note that conflict coaching is an exceptionally valuable support option that can be offered to individuals experiencing unresolved and challenging conflict situations.

It became obvious to me that the basic philosophies underlying the coaching were drawn from mediation, which in my understanding describes a solution-based activity aimed at promoting effective communication and creative thinking to promote conflict resolution. I submit that this made conflict coaching profoundly different from other coaching models that are drawn from life-coaching or executive model. Essentially therefore, conflict coaching is focused on supporting people who are caught up in unresolved conflict. It reflects on how these concerned parties communicate and respond to the conflict and other situations that complicate their relationships. Therefore, conflict coaching is a process that is vital for anyone within any context of unresolved conflicts.

References

Brinkert, R. (2006). Conflict Coaching:Advancing the Conflict Resolution Field by Developing an Individual Disputant Process CONFLICT RESOLUTION QUARTERLY 23(4), 517-228

Namie, G. (2003). Workplace bullying: Escalated incivility. Ivey Business Journal Online, 1-6

Namie, G. & Namie, R. (2009). U.S. Workplace Bullying: Some Basic Considerations And Consultation Interventions. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 61(3), 209-219

Noble, C. (2008). Conflict Coaching: An Emerging Trend in the ADR World. Asia Pacific Mediation Forum Conference 2008

Saam, N. (2009). Interventions in workplace bullying: A multilevel approach. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology DOI: 10.1080/13594320802651403

Sasidhar, B., Mukherjee, J., Alghanim, S. & Al-Hamali, R. (2012). Organizational Conflicts in India and Saudi Arabia. IPCSIT 36(1), 319-323

Tidwell, A. (1997). Problem Solving One. Mediation Quarterly 14(4), 309-317

Tidwell, A. (2001). A Preliminary Evaluation of Problem Solving for One. Mediation Quarterly 18(3), 249-249-257