Coaching for Nonprofit Leaders

Transform Conflict into Collaboration

VIP Coaching

From conflict to collaboration

Explore how we can work together to support you reach your goals, manifest your dreams, and live your values.

No worries, no strings attached. We’re just gonna explore if we can contribute to each other.

Conflict resolution. Some try to avoid it. Others accept it as part of the job.

Hardly anyone likes it.

Why is that?

  • Because you don’t know if it is worthwhile the effort if you have no guarantee it can be resolved.
  • Because you don’t want to put your head in a wasp nest, while you are running around putting out fires.
  • Because your team members don’t cooperate and continue blaming each other for mistakes (or worse, blame you)
  • Because you are afraid that you unintentionally will antagonize people when you try to address it.
  • Because you don’t have a sparring partner and are left to your own devices.

Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun.

I understand that.

And sometimes it even gets worse.

  • You are threatened with lawyers and lawsuits after an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issue.
  • You are accused of racial bias when you evaluate your team member’s performance.
  • And slowly you are just slugging through, losing your enthusiasm and commitment to your organization.

Yes, if that’s the case, I wouldn’t want to try it out myself either.

And yet, I am convinced it can be different. I believe that you can address issues in a constructive way. That you can learn the skills and mindset of conflict resolution (without it being too complicated or taking up a whole lot of time). Even better: that you can actually transform conflict into collaboration and get better outcomes. And I am not joking.

The biggest mistake when trying to resolve conflict.

The biggest mistake is to resolve the conflict too quickly. To think that the issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

My big news? It’s not true. Most conflicts have been built up over months, maybe even years. It can wait another day. If you’re in a hurry, slow down.

You need the following ingredients to transform the conflict:

  • A good amount of self-knowledge (which many people forget to focus on)
  • Some willingness to try to understand what they are feeling, needing, and thinking, even if they are angry and a list of 43 words to help with that
  • A basic practice of ‘cognitive defusion’ and using “it sounds…” as your first and foremost reflection toolConsistent awareness that you are only seeing your side of the story and that you both can be right at the same time
  • A lot of creative brainpower and the memorizing the magic 16 words for requests

You see, there is much more to conflict resolution than sitting down and talking. I find it hard to see that so many nonprofit leaders are unaware of the ins and outs of transforming conflict. That’s why I designed a special package.

The package is called “From Conflict to Collaboration” and it helps you not only resolve the conflict but actually transform it into collaboration with team members, supervisors, and key stakeholders.

I loved it. I loved it. I mean, I think that it ended up being so much more than I would have ever thought that it could be. It helped me to discern some things in a better way. What kinds of things I wanted to change on my team and in my department, what kind of things I wanted to change as far as relationships go with other co-workers or my supervisor or people that I supervise, and then be able to make changes to get them to be what I wanted them to be.

Some of the results I was creating in the coaching were really tangible things. Like structuring some team meetings or team training, and also kind of developing a little bit of a framework for how my team sees case management and what we’re doing on that side.

I think the other real benefit was just thinking about conflict in a different way and more as an opportunity to figure out how to collaborate. And I really liked the stuff that we did around Nonviolent Communication, really thinking about the needs and strategies. And I think once I started seeing conversations with people through that lens, it really changed those conversations and made them be a little bit more collaborative. I felt like I had more empathy for the people that I was working with, whether that be co-workers or clients, and then be able to not even problem-solve, but just kind of solution-find together to figure out what met both people’s needs.

Sofia Barbato

Director Supportive Services, Foundation Communities, Austin TX