It’s a fact that wherever people get together to work, there will always be a measure of conflict. No two people see things the same way all the time, and misunderstandings can frequently arise. According to the Harvard Business Review, U.S. employees spend almost 3 hours per week involved in conflict.
Conflict is sometimes good; it can fire innovation and help teams to achieve more. But if conflict is not managed constructively, it can lead to serious issues and consume a lot of a manager’s time. So let’s explore conflict in more detail and how group coaching can help build stronger teams.
The Impact of Conflict
Unhealthy conflict can lead to health consequences for individuals. According to VeryWell Mind, repetitive or prolonged conflict can lead to “lower self-rated health, greater functional limitations, and a higher number of health conditions.” No leader wants their team members to suffer in this way. And when individuals fail to thrive, so do teams.
However, a total lack of conflict is not always healthy either. When teams communicate well and have mutual respect, they can disagree without being disagreeable. These productive conflicts can lead to breakthrough ideas that take the team forward.
Group coaching can help build stronger teams by providing a safe place, not just for conflict resolution, but for learning strategies to avoid negative conflict.
How Group Coaching Helps Resolve Conflict
When problematic conflict already exists within a team, a group coaching session can help in the following ways:
Encourages Active Listening
We’ve all heard of active listening, a technique that shifts the listener’s focus away from themselves and onto the other person. Group coaching can establish an environment in which participants feel empowered to speak and take their listening to the next level.
Active listening can help your team members to:
- Drop personal preoccupations and focus on the other person’s perspective
- Repeat back what they have said with the goal of truly understanding their feelings
- Ask specific questions to gain a deeper insight
- Resist the urge to interrupt
It’s true that when team members practice active listening, they don’t always hear what they want to hear. But they will hear what they need to hear. In addition, by switching the focus from yourself to the other person, there is a greater likelihood of finding common ground and mutual understanding.
When team members understand where their coworkers are coming from, rather than working from assumptions, they can reduce tension. This, in turn, will help to build trust, leading to fewer conflicts.
Neutral Third-Party Support
The assistance of a neutral third party or mediator is a significant potential benefit of group coaching. A skilled coach can create an atmosphere where all participants feel safe speaking up. But their assistance goes beyond that of a referee.
An experienced coach can help team members identify the underlying issues causing the team to struggle to work together cohesively. Once the issues are identified, the entire team can benefit from the coach’s guidance. They can suggest strategies that can help diffuse conflict and stop them from getting out of hand in the future.
In teams riddled with conflict, individual members could begin to think merely about surviving. Doing what is best for the team and the organization becomes secondary at best. Group coaching can help individual members move away from a win-lose mentality towards more constructive patterns of thinking.
The coach can help the team think through scenarios, focusing on how they can find solutions that work for everyone. This helps to move the team toward developing a collaborative mindset. The goal is that each member will understand the importance of the role they play in helping the organization fulfill its goals.
Strengthen Communication Skills
Conflicts often occur due to poor communication skills. When team members do not express themselves clearly or do not listen carefully to what their coworkers are actually saying, misunderstandings can occur.
Another crucial part of communication is managing one’s emotions. Work often brings difficult emotions to the fore – frustration, irritation, and anger, to name a few. While there may be little we can do to stop these feelings from emerging, group coaching can help us develop strategies to deal with them constructively.
By giving us another perspective, group coaching can change the way we view challenging situations. It can help us to focus on problems and solutions rather than individuals and personalities. Small changes in our thinking can improve our mood, giving us the mental and emotional energy to resolve conflicts constructively.
Long-Term Strategies for Conflict Resolution
In a group coaching session from Aden Leadership, your team will explore what’s at the root of any recurring conflicts you’re experiencing.
The three foundational topics we will explore are:
- Having courageous conversations
- Focusing on what is important
- Executing with purpose
The focus is not on justifying the same old strategies that are not working. It’s about changing the language we use, the way we listen, and changing our own behavior to build stronger relationships. When each team member takes this selfless approach, it’s possible to build trust and reduce conflict.
Empower Your Team With the Tools to Manage Conflict Successfully
When effectively managed, disagreements and a variety of ideas can fuel business growth. But when left unchecked, conflict can tear teams – and organizations – apart. Group coaching could be the key to ensuring your team learns how to work constructively together and go to new heights.
Tailored group coaching from Aden Leadership can equip your team members with an understanding of what’s at the heart of their conflicts. It will enable them to have courageous conversations that lead to better understanding, empathy, and cooperation.
Are you ready to create a more focused, collaborative team that will help your organization to thrive? Then contact us today to tell us how we can help.