Top 5 Reasons to Work with a Conflict Coach

Ugh. Another day at the office.

How many of your workers feel like this before coming to work? Many leaders and their employees go to work daily worrying about unresolved conflict. One study found that 85% of employees have to deal with conflict to some degree and 36% also spend a significant amount of time managing disputes.

The costs of unresolved conflict in the workplace are innumerable. From lower employee engagement and productivity and higher absenteeism, to loss of customers, as outward-facing employees experiencing stress and conflict often are not capable of representing your business in its best light.

Often it’s leaders who bear the brunt and carry the burden of conflict.

According to a recent Globe and Mail article, “Leaders who lack conflict management skills and avoid conflict often end up being less effective at achieving their defined business objectives, have more trouble managing people and being fulfilled by their job.”

Conflict Coaching to the rescue!

What is “Conflict Coaching”?

Geschftsleute halten zwei groe PuzzleteileConflict coaching emerged from the executive coaching and conflict resolution fields, as practitioners explored ways to support individual clients who were troubled by a specific conflict or seeking enhanced “conflict competency” – the ability to communicate and manage conflict. Pioneers like Cinnie Noble, Tricia Jones and Ross Binkert led the way, merging their expertise in conflict resolution – including third-party led methods like mediation – with individual-focused executive coaching that supports individuals in expanding their workplace competencies.

Conflict coaching is typically a one-on-one process, focused on individual goals and conflict management needs. Client goals might include enhancing conflict competency, integrating learning from conflict resolution training, or preparing for a difficult conflict conversation, or a more formal conflict resolution process such as mediation.

Effective leaders have high conflict competency, respond to pressures and change more constructively, build more productive teams and help create a positive work environment.

Top 5 Reasons to Work with a Conflict Coach

 

1. Hone your conflict competency and be a more effective leader.

Develop positive and productive conflict management skills. Increase your understanding of conflict dynamics and your awareness of your own conflict style. Learn how to mitigate the impact of conflict and manage conflict in more constructive and collaborative ways. Your coach will guide you through competency development.

2. You have unresolved conflict.

Your coach will help you analyze the conflict situation and develop a strategy for resolving or managing the conflict and build your problem-solving skills. Clients report increased confidence when supported by a conflict coach.

3. You are going to mediation.

Conflict coaching can help you prepare for mediation, during the mediation from behind-the-scenes, and after the mediation. Your coach will help you identify your goals for the mediation, and how to achieve them.

4. You want to integrate conflict resolution training.

Research shows that ROI on training is increased by up to 500% when training is coupled with or followed by one-on-one or group coaching.

5. Conflict Coaching benefits everyone.

Learning how to manage conflict effectively – rather than reacting to conflict in negative or potentially destructive ways – benefits the coaching client, and everyone the client deals with! Organizations benefit when their employees and leaders enhance their conflict competency.

Conflict coaching is dynamic and flexible, and is available to individuals one-on-one, and to groups and teams.

Carrie Gallant
Carrie Gallant

Carrie Gallant is a lawyer, Executive Coach and certified in Conversational Intelligence®. She is also a Mediate BC Civil Roster mediator, teacher and trainer. Carrie’s expertise in negotiation, conflict management and career counselling provides a rich foundation to her passion for helping others uncover what really matters and solve problems creatively. For more information, please contact carrie@gallantsolutionsinc.com.

 

Conflict Resolution Week 2016

 

10 First-Career Dispute Resolution Professionals

We[1] have given the final word in this series to a group of professionals who all entered dispute resolution as a first career.  We’ve provided short bios of each of ten individuals we contacted for this post since their career paths offer interesting insights into opportunities to enter the field early.

In seeking out 10 people who started their careers as dispute resolution professionals, we were optimistic that we could find that many, but didn’t expect to be quite so encouraged by how many more we found! It would have been easy to have grown this list to 20 or even more.  Clearly the disheartening advice that so many new DR professionals continue to hear (“There’s no room in the field”, “No one will take you seriously until you’re older,” etc.) do not reflect the changing landscape of dispute resolution practice.  There are, in fact, a growing number of opportunities for young professionals to enter the dispute resolution field.

Let’s find ways support first career dispute resolution professionals through mentorship, pointing out new niche markets that might be ripe for new ideas and energetic development, and sharing ideas about the many, many ways in which one can make use of conflict resolution training to build a career!  In doing so, we will be building a more robust and sustainable dispute resolution landscape for all of us.[2]

Click the images below to learn more about these 10 First-Career Dispute Resolution Professionals.

[1] Identifying a list of First Career DR Professionals was decidedly a collective effort. Many thanks to C.D. Saint, Robin Phillips, and Kent Highnam for ensuring such broad representation of different career paths. 

[2]Join Sterling Nelson, Carrie Gallant, Laura Matthews and Janko Predovic at “Share the Land”: CLEBC’s Dispute Resolution Conference on November 10th to hear more about their experiences and to discuss barriers and opportunities to developing a first career in dispute resolution.

Our guest curator for this series on First Careers in Dispute Resolution is Sharon Sutherland. Sharon is a Mediate BC Civil Roster Mediator.  She began her dispute resolution practice in 1994 immediately following her call to the bar in Ontario.  She is co-chair of the November 10th CLE Conference on Dispute Resolution Share the Land.

Matt Chritchley
Matt Chritchley
Sarah Daitch
Sarah Daitch
Robert Finlay
Robert Finlay
Carrie Gallant
Carrie Gallant
Kyra Hudson
Kyra Hudson
Laura Matthews
Laura Matthews
Emily Pos
Emily Pos
Janko Predovic
Janko Predovic
Adam Rollins
Adam Rollins
Sharon Sutherland
Sharon Sutherland

10 Common (and Discouraging) Pieces of Advice Offered to New Dispute Resolution Practitioners

Graduating from law school with an interest in mediation and alternative dispute resolution seems inevitably to lead to the question: what now? Although law schools offer options to learn alternative dispute resolution theory and some schools still offer hands-on mediation training, it can be hard to find concrete guidance on how to pursue a first career in mediation after being called to the bar.

Proceed with Caution?I have been fortunate enough to be able to speak with various professional mediators and have had some wonderful, supportive conversations. That said, there are certainly some very prevalent beliefs about the feasibility of entering the field of dispute resolution as a new practitioner that are much less encouraging. For this blog, I have been asked by the series curator to write about the negative ‘cautions’ that I have heard about pursuing a career in mediation as a means of framing a discussion about the perceived barriers to entering the field. These ‘cautions’ or ‘myths’ will be responded to in an upcoming blog and, hopefully, will generate discussion at the upcoming CLE conference (Share the Land) where dispute resolution as a first career will be the topic of one of the panels.

Below is a list of some of the disheartening input that most want-to-be mediators have likely heard (at least once).

  1. You cannot go straight into mediation; you have to be a litigator for at least 10 years. [1]
  2. No one will hire you as a mediator until you establish a good reputation, and you won’t be able to establish a good reputation until you have mediated many disputes.
  3. You need a full head of grey hair to be taken seriously as a mediator (i.e. you cannot have a mediation career while you are young).
  4. There is not enough work in mediation to make it a full-time career.
  5. You must have a split practice and cannot be solely a mediator.
  6. Mediation is falling out of fashion and is no longer a growing area.
  7. Rosters are closed or full and there is nowhere to find work as a nascent mediator.
  8. Certain sectors may not take a female mediator seriously.
  9. You cannot be both a mediator and a litigator, the skill set is not compatible; if you work in litigation, you must give up your mediation career.
  10. You will never make enough money pursuing mediation as a career.

Admittedly, there is some overlap in the above list (e.g. #4 and #10), but each entry can stand alone or be woven together; no matter how they are packaged, they represent a discouraging parcel of advice.

Throughout law school, I enjoyed many positive discussions with Sterling J. Nelson about the various ways we may each be able to pursue a career in dispute resolution. Preparing information for this blog, I have spoken with some wonderful individuals who have managed to carve out a career in mediation straight out of law school or following articles. Three of these people Carrie Gallant, Laura Matthews, and Janko Predovic, will join Sterling on November 10, 2015, at the CLE Conference on Dispute Resolution: Share the Land. The panel  “I Wanna Drive the Zamboni”: Dispute Resolution as a First Career will offer an opportunity to hear their stories and discuss much needed advice on ways to achieve a thriving dispute resolution career. If you are interested in the topic, please join us there and bring your questions and comments to enliven our discussions.

Robin PhillipsGuest blogger Robin Phillips graduated from Allard Hall Faculty of Law (UBC) in 2014 and articled with Race and Company LLP. Robin took a number of dispute resolution courses at UBC, including the clinical Mediation program, and completed Mediate BC’s Court Mediation Practicum. She continues to have a strong interest in dispute resolution and will be pursuing further opportunities in the field.

Watch for the following posts in this series where Nancy Cameron, QC and Darrin Hotte examine this list of advice and offer their perspectives on its accuracy. Read Nancy’s response Have Courage, Robin: A New Narrative for New Dispute Resolution Practitioners and Darrin’s Diversity and Youth: Hope for Young Mediators Without Law Degrees.

[1] As a recent law school graduate, my focus has been on developing a dispute resolution practice within the legal field, and so the comments I’ve heard tend to reflect the presumption that one is a lawyer first, and then a mediator.  Several of the comments here presume that one is also engaged in a litigation practice before entering into mediation. I would be very interested in hearing from other young practitioners the degree to which these perceived barriers apply to other fields of study.