Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

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.

Coaching seemed like a little bit of a scary thing. Perhaps you would dive into my leadership and be super critical of it. I was just a little bit nervous that I was going to feel like everything I was doing was wrong or that I just could be so much better than I was.

It was a fear of the unknown. What is this going to look like? What is it? What am I going to get out of it?

I loved it. I loved it. I mean, It ended up being so much more than I would have ever thought it could be.

Coaching gave me benefits that I would not have imagined. I found in it a really great relationship that allowed me to look at the work that I was doing and the direction that I was going professionally through a clearer lens.

Coaching helped me to discern things in a better way and think about how to move ahead. What I wanted to change on my team and in my department, in my relationships with other co-workers, my supervisor, and the people that I supervise. And then be able to make changes to get them to be what I wanted them to be.

One of the things that we worked on together was structuring team meetings and training. And develop a framework for how my team sees case management and what we’re doing on that side. How we would describe it to ourselves and to our funders. That was an actual tangible thing.

I think the other real benefit was just a different way of thinking about things. So thinking about conflict in a meeting with multiple people in a different way, more as an opportunity to figure out how to collaborate.

I really liked the stuff around Nonviolent Communication, thinking about the needs and strategies.

Once I started seeing conversations with people through that lens, it made them more collaborative. I had more empathy for the people that I was working with, whether that be co-workers or clients. I then was able to not just solve problems, but find solutions together to figure out what met both people’s needs, even if the strategies sometimes are going to be different.

We didn’t only focus on problematic relationships, but also on relationships that worked well. I understand where people are coming from and why they’re doing certain things.

As a consequence, I trust them more. This means that if they make a decision that I’m not entirely sure where they’re coming from, that I don’t push back as hard. Even if I might talk to them later about it, I know that they are going to be honest with me and have the residents’ and staff’s best interests in mind.

This whole idea of Nonviolent Communication and the needs and strategies, that has made me more empathetic, more compassionate, and more able to step back a second and look at these different strategies and figure out: “What can we do to meet both person’s needs? Is there a strategy that could do that?” That has made my relationships more stable.

I love coaching. I mean, you should pat yourself on the back Elly.

Sofia Barbato

Director Supportive Services, Foundation Communities, Austin TX

Mary Ann

Hope, self-care, self-compassion, self-worth ~ Coaching

Mary Ann was born in a religious cult that taught her she is sinful and only deserving of love as long as she serves others. Even though she left the cult at age 18, she never got rid of those thoughts. She never was really happy with herself. She always thought she wasn’t good enough.

So we worked on recognizing these self-critical thoughts, building a practice of self-compassion, and savoring the appreciation of others.

Now she is actually pretty happy. She giggles at her mistakes, enjoys birdwatching, and is getting out off the comparison rollercoaster.

And that inner saboteur? It’s still around. Somewhere in a tiny box in her drawer.