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<xTITLE>One Way or Another</xTITLE>

One Way or Another

by Cinnie Noble
February 2022

PGP Mediation Blog by Phyllis G. Pollack

Cinnie Noble

Having been in the conflict management field for a long time – as a mediator and conflict management coach – I have seen and heard repeatedly the positional stances people take when in conflict. I too, have experienced being in conflict when the other person and I are diametrically opposed – one way or the other – or so it seems. In this regard, this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog is about the apparent ‘stuckiness’ that commonly happens when we are in conflict.

What intrigued me about the picture above – at least one interpretation I gleaned – is that there is a connection of some sort between the arrows though they are pointing away from one another. There is a chain between them and they are aligned in the photo. Though this interpretation might seem like a huge stretch – my perspective here comes from what I have observed in my various professional roles and personal disputes. That is, I find it is common that people in relational conflicts – co-workers/staff, friends, family members, Board members, and others – often share some common ground despite what might appear as disparate views. The commonness for instance, might be wanting to resolve maters, wishing we weren’t in conflict, feeling badly, being sorry for what we said, wanting an apology, feeling hurt, disappointed, betrayed and so on.

The possibility then, is that even when one person wants or expects one thing and the other person apparently wants something altogether different it may be that they are not altogether disparate in their needs and wants and that there is a way to find common ground.

If this resonates for you and a dispute you are experiencing, here are some questions to check out that possibility.

  • What is going on between you and the other person?
  • How does the other person want things to go about the issues in dispute between you from what you know? Why is that important to them do you think?
  • How do you want things to go? What makes those things important to you?
  • What sorts of commonalities do you and the other person have considering your above answers? If you don’t see any what might the answer to this question be?
  • In what ways are you and the other person most different on what is important to you?
  • What did you expect from the other person about the issues in dispute? What did the other person expect from you?
  • What sorts of common ground do the two of you already have based on your relationship?
  • What other sorts of other commonalities exist between what you want that you haven’t yet mentioned?
  • How might you two resolve matters in ways that meet both of your wants?
  • If things are resolvable between the two of you, what then?

What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?

What insights do you have?


Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You.

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Additional articles by Cinnie Noble