Do you constantly find yourself at the center of conflict? Do you struggle to have your words received the way you intended them? Have you received feedback from peers or leadership that you need to improve your communication skills? You’re not alone.

In fact, according to research conducted by CPP, Inc., almost 50 percent of workplace conflict is a result of warring egos and 29 percent is attributed to poor leadership at the top of the organization. A lack of honesty and openness accounts for 26 percent of workplace conflict. In short, the inability to communicate in a manner that elevates respect and dignity in the workplace is at the root of conflict.

Ineffective communication skills are not only at the root of workplace conflict, they can also be detrimental one’s career. Most of us have likely experienced a colleague who communicates in a manner that diminishes, tears down, humiliates, or shames others. This type of communication is a barrier for collaborative processes, and most people will go out their way to avoid putting themselves in the “line of fire.” That means the person with the poor communication skills may be the last to know important information, the last person invited to necessary meetings, and rarely, if ever, invited to participate in projects that require collaboration.

The way we communicate — our style, our word choices, our pace — is part culture, part emotional intelligence, part personality, and part skills-based learning. Developing the self-awareness to understand the impact our communication style has on others and increasing our communication skills so that our communication is received effectively and allows for productive dialogue is essential to leadership, team-building, and effective professional and personal relationships.

Transform Your Communication Skills With Conflict Coaching

The good news is that communication skills can be learned and workplace relationships can be transformed as a result. Conflict coaching is one way to enhance self-awareness, improve relationship skills, and gain insight into repairing relationships that may have been harmed as a result of past experiences.

Conflict coaching is a method of conflict exploration in which the coach and client work one-on-one to examine the specific elements of a conflict or series of conflicts from the perspectives of the parties involved. In this process, the coach and client develop an action plan to achieve the client’s specific goals. Outcomes of coaching may include, increased self-awareness, increased emotional intelligence skills, enhances communication skills, and renewed confidence in one’s ability to productively resolve conflict.

Conflict coaching can be especially beneficial in the following circumstances:

  • An ongoing conflict with another party or group of parties but only one person is committed to resolving it
  • Preparing for a mediation or a difficult conversation and increased clarity and skills are necessary for success
  • The desire to repair harm done from previous communication or conflict
  • A workplace conflict that needs to be resolved in order for all parties to experience dignity and respect in the workplace
  • A desire for self-improvement, both personally and professionally

The coach’s role is to provide a knowledge base and step-by-step process that allows the client to remain focused on self-growth and achieving his or her desired goals. This empowering process can be a catalyst for transforming relationships and enhancing leadership and interpersonal skills.

Contact Robyn Short to learn more about conflict coaching.

Robyn Short is a peace-building trainer and mediator with expertise in restorative justice and transformative mediation models. She works with individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations in discovering the root causes of their conflicts, so they may transform their relationships and create new and productive paths forward individually and as teams. Robyn is the founder and director of the Peace & Conciliation Project, a restorative justice initiative designed to engage communities in addressing the roots of structural and institutional racism through actionable dialogue and constructive change. In addition to her mediation and training practice, Robyn is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University in the Master of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution program, the Master of Leadership and Negotiation at Bay Path University, and El Centro Conflict Management program. She has guest lectured at Pepperdine University and Creighton University. Robyn has authored three books on peace building and currently serves on the board of Peacemakers, Inc.