Conflict Coaching: Beginners Guide

Conflict can break out in many situations, be it in the lunchtime break room amongst colleagues, or when dealing with customers.

Conflict Coaching: Beginners Guide
Conflict Coaching: Beginners Guide 5

Sometimes workplace conflict can be more serious, it can be due to financial mistakes, or if someone feels they’ve been discriminated against.

Whatever has caused the conflict, it is going to happen at one time or another, and it is up to workplace managers, and responsible employees to ensure there is always a sensible and satisfactory resolution.

Conflict coaching is the art of coaching in conflict management and conflict resolution in the workplace. Let us understand this, and how it works, and explain the basics, so you are prepared.

What Is Conflict Management?

Conflict management means you handle any disagreements in a way that is constructive and helps to do the following:

  • Help those who have had the conflict/disagreement to learn from this experience.
  • To find a fair and reasonable solution that respects the needs of all involved.
  • To improve relationships and create a better workplace atmosphere.
  • Avoid any future disagreements occurring around the same issue.

Recognizing Conflict In The Workplace

Occasionally, workplace conflicts can be obvious, you might witness the exchange yourself, colleagues may act cold to one another. However, sometimes it can be more subtle, in private, or there may be no witnesses.

In cases where it is not so obvious that there has been a conflict, it is always wise to be able to tell the signs of a conflict.

  • Behavior changes: This is a very key component of conflict, if some employees avoid social gatherings, perhaps they make snide remarks or have a less positive attitude than others.
  • Lack of engagement: If any employee participates less in team meetings, or if fewer people volunteer to take on new tasks.
  • Productivity decreases: If there are people always in conflict, or if there is conflicting behavior in the workplace, then there will be less work getting done.
  • Negative comments on questionnaires/ performance reviews.
  • Sick day increases: Continued conflict raises levels of stress, which is often the most prominent reason for employees to take sick days.

How Do You Address Conflict In The Workplace? Conflict Resolution Skills

Managing conflict in the workplace in an effective way requires healthy skills in conflict resolution, here are some of the skills that are required for conflict resolution:

  • Active listening (giving full attention, not just hearing, but using all of your senses).
  • Eye contact (This helps to create an emotional connection).
  • Observance (Watch for body language and non-verbal cues).
  • Empathy.
  • Patience.
  • Problem-solving.

These basic skills will help you to get started with being skilled in conflict resolution, being able to listen, maintain eye contact, and observe body language, provide an empathetic ear, patience and an ability to problem-solve can help to dissolve conflicts much faster than most might think.

Causes Of Conflict

The bigger your company and office space are the more likely clashes are going to happen between colleagues due to being around each other every day.

Large office workforces can host a vast array of people from different backgrounds who may struggle to understand one another. Some reasons for conflict can include:

  • Limitations in resources.
  • Poor leadership.
  • Different work styles.
  • Misunderstandings.
  • Miscommunication.
  • Lack of clearly defined roles in a working environment.

Should You Involve Yourself?

Conflict Coaching: Beginners Guide
Conflict Coaching: Beginners Guide 6

If you are not accustomed to dealing with conflict, you might have a hard time figuring out when you should get involved.

Minor bickering can easily work itself out, however, outright screaming and open hostility or discrimination cannot be ignored, and likely will not resolve on its own.

Loud arguing or even refusals to work with certain people can make the workplace a very unpleasant place to be, and it can cause suffering and distraction in other people.

Manage Your Own Emotions First

When faced with a messy, and negative situation in the workplace it can be very easy to get caught up in the negative emotions and energies that are plaguing the environment. You might feel annoyed or angry.

However, you need to ensure that you control your own feelings towards the situation, and ensure you manage your own emotions first before you tackle anything or anyone else. This is especially true if you are in a leadership position.

If you allow negative emotions to surface, this can cloud your ability to make sound judgments and can damage the staff’s opinion of you.

Make sure you work on projecting a positive and calm demeanor and avoid taking sides, even if it seems that one person is right and another wrong. Mediate the situation, you do not necessarily have to decide it.

Active Listening Abilities

When you are faced with people who are conflicted you need to provide them with your full attention. Always make eye contact and encourage them to give more details.

Always hear what they’re trying to say, and repeat what they said, so you are making it clear you heard them.

Recognize When You Need Help & Cannot Solve A Situation Alone

As you work to understand conflict resolution, management, and coaching better in workplaces, you might find yourself in situations that are not easily solved. Employees may not be cooperative and may make accusations.

In these situations, you need to recognize when you may need assistance. HR may be able to help, or even outside companies to help mediate or specialize in conflict resolution (see also “What Is The Workplace Maturity Model ©?“).


Conflict management and resolution are important in workplaces, all employees and managers should be well-versed in how to resolve conflicts. Training and coaching help to better be prepared for situations that may arise.

Conflict can be prominent between employees who do not get along well for any reason, or between employees and customers, where there may be a misunderstanding. Whatever the case, staff and managers alike need to be trained and coached in resolving conflicts.

Jason Sullivan
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