Conflict coach: Effective strategies for resolving professional conflicts

Misunderstandings within a team, tensions with superiors, or escalating disputes – professional conflicts can be challenging. Conflict coaching helps you to resolve them effectively and strengthen your conflict skills.
The timing is certainly not insignificant – the earlier, the better! Protracted and smoldering conflicts are not only expensive for companies, but they also cause lasting and profound frustration for the parties involved, including health problems.

The most important things at a glance

The path to becoming a conflict coach: definition and role

As a business coach, I focus on the people involved and their personal expectations, perspectives, and attitudes as well as the conflict at hand. I see myself as a mediator and supporter of all parties involved.
Conflicts often have a habit of developing their momentum almost unnoticed. I therefore accompany you on the path to regaining clarity and insight into the actual origin of the conflict. Only when we understand what is actually at stake can we work on effective strategies to resolve the actual conflict? Even when solutions have been found in and for a conflict or between the fronts involved, the issue still often lingers – that is very human. It is therefore always important to me to look to the future to become aware of the existing skills and resources that can help to maintain an overview in the next situation and prevent the conflict parties from escalating again.

Conflict coaching for managers

Managers often play a decisive role in conflict management, as they are either directly involved in conflict situations or are consulted by employees to resolve the conflict or intervene as mediators.
For this reason, it is fundamentally very helpful and necessary to strengthen and encourage managers in their ability to act and deal with conflicts.
Dealing with conflicts and crises should also be seen as a form of mindful leadership and is a decisive factor in improving the working atmosphere by recognizing and resolving a conflict situation at an early stage.

How can conflict coaching support managers in dealing with conflicts?

Boosting conflict skills in managers

Whether it is general business coaching or conflict coaching, when working with managers there is always the aspect of the “role model”. How does the manager deal with a conflict situation? Do they communicate openly or do they prefer to look the other way in the hope that the problem will hopefully resolve itself?
Regardless of the respective corporate culture, teams look to their superiors, especially in crises. Conflict management that is characterized by self-responsibility, a self-effective attitude, and efforts to be objective and open, and honest communication holds great potential – not only for the conflict situation as such but also for the establishment of a constructive culture of dispute and discussion within the company.

Dealing with teams in conflict situations

Managers are often faced with the challenge of resolving conflicts, for example among themselves within a team between two different teams, or even across several departments. In such cases, as a conflict coach, I have been able to help de-escalate the acute situation, bring all the people involved together for discussions, and work together with the manager on strategies and potential solutions.

Decisions and communication in times of crisis

When faced with a conflict or crisis, very few people will shout out loud with happiness “Finally a nice conflict again”. In a business context, they are primarily seen as obstacles on the path to achieving ambitious and diverse goals. The view of what is happening in general is usually clouded by the conflict or, at the very least, you are distracted. Making decisions is now suddenly influenced by many more factors than just the facts and the factual content. Uncertainty often arises.
In coaching, we therefore always start by analyzing: what is contributing to the conflict, who is involved, who needs to be talked to, who can provide support, what skills are available that could also help with conflict resolution, and much more. It is also important to consider which decisions in an acute situation could be postponed to avoid acting from a position of imbalance.
In such situations, I always work with managers on communication. Silence and a lack of transparency are rarely good advisors. It is important to find the fine line between communication and overcompensation through too many words.

Questions about conflict coaching

I am often asked when conflict coaching is useful and appropriate, whether it can also be carried out online, and how to find the right coach or mediator for you. I hope to be able to answer these questions for you below:

When is conflict coaching useful or indicated?

There are certainly many situations in which no one asks themselves whether conflict coaching is necessary because the signs are unmistakable in everyday working life. Such acute conflicts have either already been fermenting for some time or they are accompanied by such accelerants that they escalate within a short space of time.
Due to the high level of emotions and the often very complex situation, coaching provides support at this point to create clarity and to put everyone involved in a “workable” state to work on the conflict together.
However, it makes a lot of sense to either make use of conflict coaching at a much earlier stage or to facilitate it for your teams and employees. Smoldering conflicts before they escalate can usually be dealt with more quickly and with significantly less collateral damage. In any case, conflict coaching is advisable if a satisfactory or pacifying solution cannot be found despite repeated attempts and efforts to resolve the problem. From my point of view as a coach, I have a different approach to the situation because I am not trying to assert any personal interests or was already emotionally involved in the development of the conflict. This means that I am always in a position to provide objective support for the entire conflict situation.

Can conflict coaching be conducted online?

In principle, conflict coaching can of course be conducted online. The private sphere of a virtual one-to-one preliminary meeting with one of the conflict parties often offers a safer setting than an on-site meeting in the office. However, if the conflict coaching is later held in a group, for example, I am a great advocate of the physical and personal presence of all participants in one room. Of course, this can also be done virtually, but I am convinced that conflicts are such a sensitive matter that they should ideally be tackled in a joint physical presence.

How do I find the right conflict coach?

Regardless of what you are looking for in a coach, you should always make sure that he or she has in-depth coaching training, and it is often worth taking a look at the training institutes where the coach has trained. The market is large and broad.
I have completed several coaching trainings, for an overview please visit About Me.

An equally important aspect besides the training is the coach’s CV and background. Coaching is not only learned by reading books. There is a lot more to it and the coach’s professional and personal background can give you a good idea of whether he or she is a good fit for your needs.

The most important ingredient for a productive and constructive coaching process is the “human fit” or, to put it bluntly, that things flow smoothly. This is what preliminary talks are for, to find out exactly this and to get a feel for us coaches. And vice versa! I also make my selection, just as you should do. It has to be a human fit because otherwise, other disruptive factors will join the process that simply have no place there.