Dealing with Conflict-Coaching through Adversity

August 21, 2008

There is a great method to handling objections or simply dealing with conflict in a way that is beneficial to both parties. I know from my own experiences, handling tough conversations can be some of the most anxious situations to live through as a manager, team member or HR Professional. So how do you do it?

There is a great strategy I actually learned while in the Sales Function that is more than applicable. The method is as follows:

1. Cushion: Empathize or sympathize with the other party. This is a great way to diffuse potential issues and open up the communication highway. Example: “I understand this must be difficult for you to hear…”
2. Clarify: Ask questions to be sure you understand the root of the problem and not just a symptom. Someone’s chronic tardiness is the symptom of a larger problem. Perhaps they have had some family issues arise that you don’t know about or simply has misunderstood what time they should appear for work. Asking probing questions also buys you some points and removes the “accusatory” tone that coaching sessions often take.
3. Confirm: After you have truly gotten the root of the problem, restate it to the other party to be sure you have understood it clearly and ask for buy in.
4. Answer: This is the portion that with the other steps followed correctly, can seal the deal and ensure at least an honest attempt at communicating the coaching or reprimand in a positive light. (Positive meaning the other side actually “gets it” and makes efforts to change.) In this step, be sure to lay out expectations, deadlines as well as ramifications.
5. Confirm: It sounds silly, however, restating what the goals, objectives and topics covered in the coaching session and asking for confirmation verbally from the other side can seriously increase the potential for buy in or a change in behavior. This is a critical step and depending upon the stage of the coaching session, be sure to make sure you have documentation notating the discussion in case you have to take the coaching to the next level.

Hope this is helpful to you! And as always, if you are one of our Leadership Masterpiece Institute partners, you can engage our help prior to such discussions as part of your association fee. We love to help, but need to know when you need it! Always remember Ephesians 4:29 when using the above method and “speak the truth in love.” Good luck!


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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.


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