Whether in business or personal development, coaches often serve as mediators during various types of conflict resolution. Coaches have the ability to view a situation in a non-biased manner and are extremely beneficial to help clients solve a problem constructively.
Learning how to effectively mediate conflict is an important skill for all coaches to know. It can be time-intensive to smooth out issues between your clients, but coaches should be able to understand the situation and provide helpful guidance through any conflicts. Keep reading to learn how coaches can resolve conflict like a boss.
Teaching Clients to Accept Conflict
Whether a conflict is arising between co-founders or partners, it can be difficult to face it head-on. Many people assume that the best way to resolve issues is to minimize potential conflict, but in order to maintain a healthy long-term relationship with the other person, it is crucial to work towards conflict resolution together.
The most successful coaches are those who are not afraid of embracing conflict and teach their clients to do the same. As a coach, you can be put in tough situations where it is difficult to confront your client—but speaking candidly to them is crucial to develop a strong bond. To teach your clients to embrace conflict, it is important to do the following:
- Have a plan of action: Confrontations can be difficult, so it is essential to know exactly what you are trying to communicate and how you plan to do so. Included in the plan should be the various facets of the business and who’s the most well-versed in making decisions around them.
- Address the conflict head-on: Beating around the bush won’t benefit anyone in this situation you need to take initiative to ensure the conflict is addressed directly and respectfully. Teach clients that addressing conflicts swiftly and respectfully is the best way to maintain a healthy relationship.
- Understand your client’s perspective: It’s important to listen to both sides of the situation so both parties feel understood. The same applies to your clients, they need to learn to hear each other out without interruption.
- Work together on a solution: Take the time to listen to your clients’ point-of-views so you can work together to come to an agreement. Emphasize the importance of working together and compromising where it makes sense.
Create Healthy Boundaries for Conflict Resolution
Embracing conflict and establishing proper boundaries is essential to conflict resolution. As the coach, you’re there to help your clients work together and come up with solutions that move them forward. It’s also important to maintain your boundary as the intermediary figure and remain a neutral party. While listening to your clients’ concerns is an important skill, you must also be able to stand your ground when necessary—you are the professional, after all. To help your client find a solution while still establishing boundaries, it is important to remember the following:
Determine your client’s strengths
Once you determine areas of strength and weaknesses, your clients will be able more effectively delegate different parts of their business.
Be a calm and confident mediator
Your client’s energy will reflect your own, so it is crucial that you are able to put aside personal feelings and approach the situation tactfully.
Ensure your client feels heard
Make sure there is mutual understanding before coming to a decision.
Once your clients have made a decision, move on from the situation and do not let them dwell on old issues.
How to Coach Through Internal Client Discord
Coaches should be bringing valuable knowledge and experience to their clients to help them make the best decisions possible for themselves (especially since you won’t always be there to perform conflict resolution). When speaking to clients, it is important to be cognizant of both your prepared plans and tacit knowledge developed from your interpersonal relationship with them.
Sometimes, the key to conflict resolution is discovering if a client is externalizing internal, or unrelated issues. A good coach should be confident enough to trust their instincts and delve deeper into a situation to determine if there are other reasons for a client’s conflict arising.
As a coach, you should bring not only explicit subject knowledge to the table but also an ability to understand the client as a person to help improve any interpersonal issues that may arise as well. You should be looking out for signs such as:
- Doubt or “imposter syndrome” in themselves or their business
- Uncharacteristic or unusual behavior
- Signs they are distracted
- Putting themselves or others down
- Closed-off body language
These signs can all signal that something much deeper is going on. In this situation, it is imperative that you are able to understand and empower your client to make the changes necessary to improve their relationship with themselves.
Conflict Resolution Coaching Benefits
Conflict coaching is a style of coaching that focuses on the mediating or negotiating process to help clients understand how to communicate more effectively and create resolutions that both parties are satisfied with. Conflict coaching can help in several areas, try using this in your own conflict resolution practices by:
- Reframing negative reactions into constructive criticism
- Improving your problem-solving abilities
- Developing insight into different types of thought processes
- Determining areas of personal strengths and weaknesses
- Clarifying major issues and breaking them down to their core
- Creating strategic step-by-step plans to achieve major goals
- Adapting new constructive behaviours to help remedy situations
Coaching is a difficult but rewarding industry to become a part of. Not only can you salvage personal relationships through conflict resolution but also save great businesses with the potential to make a difference. A good coach is confident and firm while still being empathetic and understanding of your clients.
Some of the most important conflict-resolution best practices to remember include setting boundaries and expectations ahead of time, allow people to speak and air grievances with even respect and not allowing past conflicts to get in the way of moving forward. For additional conflict resolution tips for the business environment, take a look at the infographic from Embroker below.