Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble

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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Articles and Video:

Conflict Resolutions for 2022 (12/27/21)
These are my resolutions for 2022--some recycled that I'm still working on.

Your Gut Instincts and Conflict (11/30/21)
Many of us have fine-tuned instincts that help guide us through challenges we face when we encounter situations and interactions that perplex us.

“When Patterns Are Broken, New Worlds Emerge” (11/08/21)
The relevance of this quote by Tuli Kupferberg to interpersonal conflict may not be immediately evident. But, through my work as a conflict management coach, and in my own experience, I am aware that we tend to get into patterns about how we react to things that provoke us.

“When Patterns are Broken, New Worlds Emerge” (10/23/21)
The relevance of this quote by Tuli Kupferberg to interpersonal conflict may not be immediately evident.

"Never Ruin an Apology with an Excuse" (09/27/21)
This quote by Kimberly Johnson is a good one to consider when it comes to asking forgiveness, giving an apology, and otherwise trying to make amends.

Eating Our Words (09/07/21)
Adlai Stevenson once said, “Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.”

Beyond Mediation: Conflict Coaching (08/12/21)
Conflict coaching, also known as conflict management coaching, is a one on one process in which a trained coach supports clients to strengthen their conflict competence, including their confidence and comfort to engage more effectively in their interpersonal disputes. This process may also be used for pre-mediation to prepare parties to participate more effectively in the mediation process or to prepare for any facilitated dialogue/discussion.

What I Learned About Conflict from Cheetahs (07/17/21)
In the middle of the desert and savannahs, and in big and small cities – far from home – it feels we are defined only by our presence in the moment.

Do You Model Conflict Competence? (07/02/21)
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.” ~Albert Einstein

How Can We Understand Everything? (05/24/21)
Miles Davis once said, “If you understood everything I said, you’d be me.”

Expectations and Conflict (04/30/21)
It seems to me – based on my work as a conflict management coach and, well, just as myself – that one of the things that leads to interpersonal conflict is when we have expectations of another.

Finding a Remedy When in Conflict (04/10/21)
“Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.” (Henry Ford) While Henry Ford’s quote might well apply to making cars and running a business, it also has application to our interpersonal disputes when one of the common things many of us do is find fault with the other person.

Don't Look Where You Fall (03/19/21)
“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes. I’m thinking about making a few more.”

Line in the Sand (03/05/21)
You have likely heard the metaphor about drawing a line in the sand, and might have used it yourself to set boundaries.

Being Unafraid to Feel (01/15/21)
When we feel emotional about a conflict – hurt, anger, betrayal, disappointment, and so on – it is a clear sign that something important to us is being challenged or threatened or undermined.

Do You Always Like You? (12/01/20)
There are times many of us interact in ways we're not very proud of. It may be because we are reacting to what someone is saying or doing.

Do You Always Like You? (11/06/20)
There are times many of us interact in ways we’re not very proud of.

The Aim of Argument (10/16/20)
It seems that sometimes when we begin to have an argument with someone the focus isn’t on moving things forward.

Responding to Conflict (10/03/20)
When we become embroiled in an interpersonal conflict it’s common that we easily lose track of what’s important to us.

Criticizing Others (08/29/20)
One way that some of us cope when we are in conflict is to criticize the other person for something he or she is saying or doing.

The Conflict Iceberg (07/28/20)
The metaphor of an iceberg has commonly been used as a metaphor about conflict.

Facing the Conflict (07/10/20)
The notion that we have the ability to change someone (such as their personality, their needs, their values, their core beliefs, their deeply held views) is unrealistic.

Asking for Help When in Conflict (05/29/20)
Winnie the Pooh is a lot smarter than I am.

The Space Between Unpeace and Peace (05/04/20)
Honor the space between no longer and not yet, Nancy Levin.

Burying the Hatchet (02/21/20)
In some research I did a few years ago, I found that the initial altercation or even a set of circumstances that started tension between many people can begin a trajectory that escalates over time (even if no external conflict occurs).

Preparing for that Dreaded Conversation (01/24/20)
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail,” Benjamin Franklin.

Connecting With Our Values (01/17/20)
“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

Conflict Resolutions for 2020! (01/04/20)
Here are my conflict resolutions for 2020. What are yours?

Words Are Like Spears (11/22/19)
A Yoruban proverb goes “Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back.”

Peace Within (11/15/19)
Being at peace within ourselves, interacting peacefully, caring about peace, looking peaceful and engendering peace.

Conflict: Getting In Our Own Way (10/25/19)
It happens, at times, that we get in our own way when a conflict erupts or is about to.

Message Gleaned About Conflict From a Tweet (10/11/19)
A few months ago, I posted a quote on Twitter that a colleague sent me because she thought I’d like it. And I do.

Change the Frame: The Picture Changes (09/30/19)
How have you framed your conflict?

Three Sides to Every Story (09/12/19)
When we talk about an interpersonal dispute between two people, we commonly say there are two sides to every story – the other person’s version of events and issues and our own.

Conflict: Blown Out of Proportion (08/30/19)
It happens, at times, that our conflicts get blown out of proportion.

The “Flip Side” in Conflict (07/30/19)
It is common that we get so caught up in our conflicts that we only see our side.

Wrong Side of the Bed (07/19/19)
Sometimes I wake up in a cranky mood-am I the only one?

At the End of Our Rope (07/05/19)
There are times we become so frustrated with a conflict that we feel spent – that the dynamic and its resolution are insurmountable.

“Being” in Conflict (06/14/19)
In response to a questions about what compelled me to create a conflict management coaching model, I explained that in my work as a workplace mediator it became evident that many leaders do not know how to “be” in conflict.

The “Do Nots” of Conflict (05/23/19)
There are a lot of things NOT to say or do when in conflict with someone else if we are wanting to resolve or mend things.

The Need to Be Right (05/03/19)
One of the many attitudes to conflict that derails interpersonal conflicts (and most conflicts, really) is a need to be right

Who Are You When You Are In Conflict? (04/26/19)
Some conflictual interactions bring out parts of us we don’t really like or, even recognize at times!

Second-Guessing Ourselves When In Conflict (04/08/19)
I don’t know about you – but there are many times I “second-guess” what I said or did in some conflict situations. Or, I might “second-guess” what bothered me in the first place.

Self-Blame in Conflict (03/22/19)
It happens for many of us that we take on the whole responsibility of our interpersonal conflicts – to our detriment.

Repurposing Our Conflicts (03/17/19)
What is the purpose of the conflict?

Maybe, It’s Not As Bad As You Think (03/01/19)
There are times when I’ve found myself reacting poorly to something another person says or does and then, discover I misinterpreted their intent.

Stepping Up To Conflict (02/15/19)
To become conflict masterful, it requires us to step up. In case you are wondering, this is different from facing conflict, i.e. accepting that it exists.

Being Kind in Conflict (02/01/19)
In the midst of interpersonal conflict, it’s difficult to be kind to the other person – no matter how kind a person we may usually be.

Conflict Resolutions for 2019 (01/03/19)
I’d like to wish all of you the very best of health and happiness for the coming year. And may it be a peaceful one, too.

Conflict Can Lead to a Heavy Heart (11/30/18)
Since the 1300s the adjective heavy – referring to the heart – has been used in the sense of “weighed down with grief or sadness”.

If You'd Only Told Me (11/23/18)
Had we known about the other person’s perspective and experience about us things may not have gone on so far and become as difficult.

Carrying the Weight of Conflict (11/16/18)
It often seems that we carry a heaviness in ourselves – our hearts, our heads, our whole beings – when we are in conflict with another person.

Denialism and Conflict (11/01/18)
It’s only recently that I heard the term “denialism”.

Conflict Assumptions (09/28/18)
When we are in conflict with another it is often the case that we make assumptions about her or him.

If I Had To Do It Again… (09/17/18)
Many of us revisit conflicts and other interactions in our heads – and sometimes many times – wishing we had the opportunity to do it again.

People-Pleasing (09/06/18)
Would you call yourself a people-pleaser?

Paying Forward Conflict Lessons (08/31/18)
"Thank you for listening to me and my side of our dispute and for disagreeing with me in the gracious way you did--" I learned so much from those words.

Values Conflict (08/15/18)
It is common to attribute the term ‘values conflict’ as the reason for dissension between us and another person and we may say such conflicts are not resolvable.

Up Against a Wall (07/20/18)
Sometimes, when involved in an interpersonal conflict, we find ourselves “up against a wall”.

Being Grateful for Some Conflicts (07/13/18)
It might seem strange to use the words ‘grateful’ and ‘conflict’ in the same sentence.

Bee in Your Bonnet (07/06/18)
The expression “to have a bee in one’s bonnet” has a variety of meanings.

People Pleasers in Conflict (06/22/18)
Some of us have a pattern known as people-pleasing.

The Conflict Iceberg (06/14/18)
The metaphor of an iceberg has commonly been used as a metaphor about conflict.

Being Good to Ourselves When in Conflict (05/25/18)
Interpersonal conflict is often deflating. Our egos, self-esteem, confidence, mood and other parts of us can all be negatively influenced when we are in dispute.

The Cracks are Where the Light Gets In (05/21/18)
If we are able to consider that there is something good to see when a dispute causes us to feel dark and dim, we may be able to have a different and better relationship with conflict and ourselves within it.

What I Learned About Conflict From Cheetahs (04/05/18)
The dwindling of the cheetah population is due to the conflict between them and men.

What it Takes to be Conflict Masterful (03/09/18)
How we define conflict mastery and the characteristics needed to be and be seen as such varies.

Letting Conflict Define Us (02/22/18)
There are times we get so caught up in a dispute that we become defined by it.

Being Sorry (02/16/18)
Sometimes we are sorry about what we said in a conflict and say so. Sometimes we are not sorry but say we are anyway.

Preparing to "Be" in Conflict (01/26/18)
There are times we know we will encounter pushback, defensiveness, offensiveness and other negative reactions to issues we want to raise with another person.

When the Day is Done (01/12/18)
When you consider what is most important to you about the conflict and the other person, what is the optimum way of proceeding, do you think?

Overcoming Clients' Road Blocks in Conflict Management Coaching (01/05/18)
As conflict management coaches it is common that we witness our clients encounter blocks during the course of our engagement.

Conflict Resolutions for 2018! (01/05/18)
Oh my goodness, another year has passed and I would like to wish you all the very best for 2018. May it be a peaceful, loving and joyful one for you and yours!

I Would Never ... (12/22/17)
The other day a coaching client told me that she became angry at a man she works with who criticized how she managed a situation.

Mind Your Own Beeswax (12/01/17)
As a kid, I remember using the phrase “mind your own beeswax” – instead of mind your own business – as a reaction to others who were being nosy.

Argue For Your Limitations (11/27/17)
There’s a quote I really like by Richard Bach. It reads: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.”

Bringing Your Best Self to a Conflict (11/17/17)
How is the best version of yourself different from the second best version of you?

Crying Your Eyes Out (11/10/17)
Recently a conflict management coaching client told me she had “cried her eyes out” about a dispute she is having with a co-worker.

Realizing Our Professional Goals (10/23/17)
It is trite to say, but true, that remaining focused on our career destinations – where we want to go and who we want to be when we arrive – requires commitment to the journey.

Changing Your Direction in Conflict (10/13/17)
What insight do you have into your conflict?

Bite My Tongue (09/22/17)
One reference to the expression “bite my tongue” is “To forcibly prevent oneself from speaking, especially in order to avoid saying something inappropriate or likely to cause a dispute”.

The Cost of Organizational Conflict (04/21/16)
Ill-managed conflict costs organizations in many ways besides the expense of litigation and related claims.

Ten New Year's Conflict Resolutions (12/26/14)
If you make New Year’s resolutions, here are some “conflict resolutions” that you might want to consider for the new year and beyond.

Having an Axe to Grind (12/05/14)
According to wiseGEEK “There are two meanings to the phrase ‘an axe to grind’. The first meaning is the traditional American one, which means having an ulterior motive or personal reasons, other than the obvious, for doing something. The British meaning is to hold a grudge or a grievance against someone or something.”

Who Are You When You're in Conflict? (11/11/14)
It happens sometimes that we lose track of ourselves when in conflict. We may find we turn into someone who doesn’t even resemble who we usually are and how we interact. We may become an angry parent, a petulant child, a dogmatic teacher, a judge or other personas that reflect a different somebody than we want to be.

Hair Trigger Temper (10/31/14)
You may have heard the phrase hair trigger temper referring to someone who reacts strongly when angry. As an adjective hair trigger has been described to mean “easily activated or set off; reacting immediately to the slightest provocation or cause”.

Expectations and Conflict (10/24/14)
One of the things that can lead to conflict has to do with unmet expectations. For instance, we had hoped that another person would have said or done something that reflects their care and concern for us; they excluded us from a gathering or decision; they had something we wanted and knew it was important to us; or they didn’t provide their support or were unreliable about a matter.

Walking on Eggshells (10/13/14)
When applied to interpersonal conflict I think of those disconcerting situations – such as walking on eggshells – when I am reluctant to raise an issue expecting that by doing so I will overly upset the other person. It seems this is most likely to occur when I have a history with and am aware of her or his sensibilities. Though I expect it also happens when we don’t know the other person but reckon that what we have to say will be difficult to receive. In any case, the image itself – from whatever the source –conjures up an extremely uncomfortable experience.

I Hate When He . . . (10/04/14)
Lately I have been hearing several of my friends complaining about their life partners. It seems it is more than usual, but maybe I am just more aware of their plaints these days for some reason. The gripes typically start with “I hate when he (or she)…” and the “odious” acts, as they perceive them, may be how the person answers the phone, eats, flosses, leaves laundry on the floor, makes puns, and on and on.

My Way or the Highway (09/26/14)
t has been a long time since I first heard the expression my way or the highway. Within the context I first heard it and ever since, I have interpreted it to mean that if someone doesn’t go along with the other’s view (position, want, need, etc.) she or he might as well just leave or go away.

Never Cut What You Can Untie (09/19/14)
Recently on the Conflict Coaching Guild on LinkedIn I asked members if they would share idioms, phrases, metaphors and other expressions on conflict that they like. There are many I had not heard of and one of those is the title of today’s blog – never cut what you can untie.

The Last Word (09/05/14)
When we are in an interpersonal conflict we may find ourselves reacting when the other person tries to have or succeeds at getting the last word. Or, we may be the one who is trying or succeeds in doing so. According to one source, the definition of the phrase the last word includes: “the last thing said in an argument”; “information that everyone considers to be the best”; “the right to make a decision that everyone must obey”; and “the newest and best type of something”.

Upsetting the Applecart (08/15/14)
When we accuse someone of upsetting the applecart we generally think that person is causing trouble and creating difficulties by doing or saying something that challenges the status quo. Of the four variations of the source of the expression that I read about, the most basic and generic derivation refers to farmers in the 1800s who would bring applecarts loaded with neatly piled, fresh apples for sale to market.

Stepping into Someone's Shoes (07/26/14)
The phrase stepping into someone’s shoes – the subject of this week’s blog – is commonly used to describe a way to envision the situation from the other person’s perspective. As one source said, “only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches”.

Do You Flip Your Lid? (07/18/14)
I was unable to find the derivation of the expression flip your lid, but I have heard it used to describe an excessively angry reaction. In recent years I have heard the term apoplectic used when referring to extreme rage and for me, the meaning of these two expressions are similar. The visual of flip your lid however, conjures up an interesting image of the top of the head blowing open – presumably with fury propelling it. Perhaps, the expression symbolizes the emotional part of the brain (limbic area) becoming over-activated and overflowing with anger, pushing out the front of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) which loses its capacity to think!

Walking Away with Grace (07/11/14)
Sometimes when we are in conflict with another person we are faced with a dilemma about what we are or are not willing to say or do, or give or take, to reconcile matters. Though at some level of consciousness we want to settle things, there are times when we realize that what it may take to do so would compromise our values and needs.

Jumping From the Frying Pan into the Fire (07/07/14)
It happens in conflict that things frequently escalate in a way that results in the other person or us making things worse. The expression “jumping from the frying pan into the fire” applies here as an idiom that generally means escaping a bad situation for a worse situation. According to one source, “it was made the subject of a 15th-century fable that eventually entered the Aesopic canon”. Here is the story in brief.

Are You a Pot-Stirrer? (06/20/14)
This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog is not about cooking, though the title and the metaphor seems to conjure up the picture of soups and stews simmering on top of a stove. When it comes to conflict the expression – stirring the pot – is defined by one source as “to cause unrest or dissent”. It is an idiomatic way to explore what some of us do when we disagree with a decision, or it may be what we do in reaction to something another person does or says that we do not like, or it may be when we raise issues on purpose to encourage debate or to cause unrest for some reason.

Pain in the Neck (06/03/14)
When we are in conflict with another person or the dynamics between us seem to be leaning towards one developing, some of us have a tendency to begin to find fault with the other person. We may attribute negative motives to her or him. We may stay away from this person or show the emotions we are experiencing in various ways.

Silent Treatment (05/23/14)
One of the ways that some people manage conflict is by using the ‘silent treatment’. This expression refers to “Maintenance of aloof silence toward another as an expression of one’s anger or disapproval”. The same source says this phrase is “a deliberate discourteous act”.

"I Wish I Hadn't Said That" (05/16/14)
There are times in our interpersonal conflicts that – after the fact – we state things like, “I wish I hadn’t said that”. This is along the lines of “If I had it to do over”. It is often a statement made when we acknowledge that something we said triggered off a reaction in the other person that served no purpose except maybe to escalate the dispute. When we are at a point when we are wishing we had not said something, reasons, explanations, apologies, and requests are not generally heard or accepted. These and other efforts to redeem ourselves are not received well and we are left with regret and self-blame.

Stew in Your Own Juices (05/09/14)
The other day a colleague (I’ll call her Janet) told me she and a co-worker (I’ll call him David) had a heated disagreement about a work matter. Janet went on to say that David called her a few hours after and left a contrite message asking to have a coffee and work things out. She then told me she decided not to reply for a few days to let David “stew in his own juices” for a while. When I asked what she means by that, Janet answered, “I thought I’d just let him feel badly a little longer for being a jerk”.

Mediation Assumptions - Are They Necessary? (05/02/14)
Generally-speaking, a common reaction – when we are provoked by something another person says or does (or doesn’t say or do) – is to make assumptions about their motive, character, etc. This tendency often heightens in intensity and malevolence if the perceived offense is repeated and our emotional reaction increases.

Don't Should On Yourself or Others (04/25/14)
Have you had the experience when a friend, colleague or family member tries to impose their beliefs, needs, values, or expectations on you regarding a way you handled a situation? I have never been fussy about sentences that start with “You should have…” and then a pronouncement of what the speaker thinks would have been more appropriate. Of course, it may well be that I did not use my strongest conflict mastery skills at these times.

Reason or Excuse (04/15/14)
I have been thinking about when I hear someone explaining their rationale for saying or doing something that has upset or provoked me or another person. I realize that at times it sounds like an excuse and at other times it sounds like a reason. You may ask what difference does it make?

Justify or Just-Iffy? (04/04/14)
The other day a friend – I’ll call her Jane – was telling me about an ongoing dispute she was having with a co-worker. She complained about the way her colleague Ted acts, looks, talks, and just about everything else. Clearly, their interactions had deteriorated over time and their current communications are mostly through others.

Questions About Being in Conflict That Have No Right to Go Away (03/28/14)
In his wonderful poem “Sometimes” (from Everything is Waiting for You, 2007, Many Rivers Press), David Whyte refers to questions that “have no right to go away”. I really like that statement and it touched a chord in me. So, considering my fascination with the art of inquiry I thought about using Whyte’s phrase as the title and premise of this week’s blog.

I Didn't Mean it That Way (03/14/14)
It seems statements that go like, “I didn’t mean it that way” are ones we use when something we said or how we said it is misinterpreted by another person and offends her or him. Or, it may be a gesture that is misread. In either case, as a consequence of the other person’s reaction to us and the realization that our words or actions are perceived in a way that is not intended, we attempt to defend ourselves and explain what we meant. This is when we may utter phrases like, “I didn’t mean it that way”.

Are You Beating Around the Bush? (02/07/14)
When we are in conflict, some of us avoid coming to the point about something we think may upset the other person. The idiom beat around (or about) the bush describes the sort of prevarication when we delay or are evasive about raising difficult things. Or, it may be we act this way when we are having challenges answering a hard question.

That Made My Blood Boil (01/31/14)
Did you know that there was a belief that blood actually boils when people become angry or excited? We know that is not true and even has a sort of sci-fi feeling to it. However, that made my blood boil is an expression used by some of us when commenting on something that highly offends us. Wiktionary describes the idiom to mean: “To cause a person to feel angry or very annoyed, especially in situations in which one cannot fully display that feeling to others”.

Top 10 New Year's Mediation Resolutions (01/03/14)
Instead of a series of ten questions, this week’s blog is a series of my Conflict Resolution Resolutions for the upcoming year 2014.

Experiencing Your Conflict (12/20/13)
In previous ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blogs I have discussed somatic symptoms of conflict. Today’s post is about what we experience internally that we may or may not show externally. That is, there are ways we are aware of – that others do not necessarily observe – about things going on for us in our body, heart, and brain. Some signs, of course, are evident and will be considered in this discussion.

Mediation Positions vs. Interests (12/07/13)
In the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators, among other things, help people in dispute come to a mutually acceptable resolution about issues they do not agree on. Each party typically holds a disparate perspective from the other on what constitutes an appropriate settlement. By the time they get to talk it out in the mediation process to see if they can resolve matters, they have often become entrenched in their positions and the relationship is suffering.

Positions v. Interests (12/03/13)
In the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators, among other things, help people in dispute come to a mutually acceptable resolution about issues they do not agree on. Each party typically holds a disparate perspective from the other on what constitutes an appropriate settlement. By the time they get to talk it out in the mediation process to see if they can resolve matters, they have often become entrenched in their positions and the relationship is suffering.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones (10/15/13)
Do you remember the expression “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? If so, you may also recall, as I do, that it was (and may still be) a stock response to verbal bullying in grade school playgrounds. The meaning is evident and is simply described by one resource as follows: “A response to an insult, implying that ‘You might be able to hurt me by physical force but not by insults’.”

From Cinnie Noble (10/14/13)
CONGRATULATIONS! Thank you for providing such a great platform for conflict management practitioners to impart ideas,to network, to learn, to stay abreast of what our colleagues are doing, to be informed of conferences and training, and to be able to share our professional profiles. You continue to do all that and more and it's a pleasure to celebrate your success.

Bury Your Head in the Sand (09/20/13)
It’s not likely that burying our heads in the sand when in conflict helps to solve matters, mend the relationship, or clarify assumptions and perceptions. Sometimes though it may be the best tact.

Losing Face (09/08/13)
Among the fears that some of us have about interpersonal conflict is the loss of something important to us. It may be a fear we will lose what we are fighting for. It may be we fear losing the relationship. We may fear the loss of our position or status. Another loss some of us have when we are in conflict, or when we expect one may evolve, has to do with losing face and experiencing related emotions such as humiliation.

The "Fear Factor" and Conflict (08/31/13)
As with the participants who performed stunts on the reality show called “Fear Factor”, many of us are outside of our comfort zones when we are in conflict.  Unlike the contestants though when we are in conflict many of us do not experience conflict as sport, and we also lack their apparent boldness. This article expands on the notion of ‘fear factor’ when it comes to engaging in relational conflict and processes designed to facilitate the way through them.

Taking Stock (08/16/13)
After a conflict is over, it helps to ‘take stock’ of what happened and to learn from the experience. One of the definitions of this idiom – ‘to take stock’ – relevant to a conflict situation is “to think carefully about a situation or event and form an opinion about it, so that you can decide what to do”. Another pertinent reference is: “To assess a situation, to conduct a personal inventory of ones beliefs and values, etc.”

Stepping on Someone's Toes (07/26/13)
Here’s another interesting metaphor to do with body parts and conflict. The visual here of ‘stepping on someone’s toes’ is, as with many idiomatic images, quite vivid. That is, I imagine the experience of having this happen – figurative though it is – would feel like an invasive, hurtful, and insulting act that can easily lead to conflict.

Throwing Dirt (06/07/13)
When in conflict we commonly turn our negative energy on the other person in various ways. Examples may be by gossiping about her or him, blaming, name-calling, and generally saying counterproductive and mean-spirited things to and about her or him. The irony of the expression, “When you throw dirt, you lose ground” (credited as a Texan proverb) is not lost on those of us aiming to become more conflict masterful.

You Can Catch More Flies with Honey than Vinegar (05/17/13)
I was fairly young when I first heard the idiom ‘you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar’. It was one of my mother’s pearls of wisdom. Her name was Pearle and so, she took her name seriously by dispensing precious lessons on life with short homilies and expressions.

Disputes: A Clash of Imperfect Ideas (04/12/13)
It is common in the midst of conflict that we become more assertive about our perspective – especially when the other person is equally or more assertive about hers or his. One or both of us may push our viewpoints to the extent that things escalate and stronger feelings evolve – accompanied by even more push back. It is as though both of us are convinced and have to convince the other that our view is the perfect and correct one.

The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back (03/29/13)
I have used the expression “the straw that broke the camel’s back” or a similar idiom when referring to an incident that pushes an ongoing situation too far across a line of tolerance. I didn’t know the derivation of this particular expression and when I looked it up I found the meaning is consistent with this same notion.

Forgiving When Asked (03/22/13)
Forgive me. I apologize. I was an idiot. You didn’t deserve what I said. I was so wrong. I didn’t mean it. You are a saint for putting up with me. Will you please forgive me? In whatever form requests for forgiveness take, it is not incumbent upon the receiver to forgive. For some reason many people think they ‘should’ forgive or at least say they do. It’s just not always that straightforward.

Puuuulllllease! (02/22/13)
As we know, the word please is usually meant to be a polite statement that accompanies a request of another. With a drawn out pronunciation and sarcastic intonation, this word can turn quickly into an expression that reflects disgust, disapproval, anger, and disagreement. ‘Puullease’ may be used to dismiss the other person, to criticize, or to put them down. In any case, saying this word in the way just described typically leaves little room for conciliatory dialogue.

Mending Fences (02/01/13)
Some research on the expression “mending fences” indicates that the derivation is from the proverb “Good fences make good neighbours”. It is apparently listed by the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as a mid-17th century idiom. My source states that Robert Frost gave the proverb a boost in his 1914 poem “Mending Walls” when he used the above expression to essentially mean rebuilding previously good relationships. There was a slight aberration in the late 1800’s when mending fences came to mean ‘looking after your own interests’. In the 20th century the original meaning resumed.

Making a Mountain Out of a Mole-Hill (12/27/12)
When we begin to experience irritation about something happening with another person, our thoughts and feelings sometimes go to places that are not helpful for the situation and relationship with the other person. We may not always be aware of what is exacerbating things, but before we know it our initial responses have taken twists and turns that only serve to complicate matters. As things expand in our minds and hearts, we often find ourselves more and more conflicted, confused, and upset. As things get bigger they may not even be a reasonable facsimile of what they were in the beginning.

Jumping to Conclusions (11/30/12)
Jumping to conclusions can easily cause or perpetuate a conflict situation. This idiom – jumping to conclusions – refers to a tendency to assume something as negative when there is not necessarily a reason to do so. Conclusions may be about another person’s character, motives, attitude, and rationale. This sort of thinking may come from the habitual inclination to think the worst, to not trust ourselves or others, to let our insecurities and fears take over, and so on.

Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt (11/05/12)
As soon as we begin to react to someone who provokes us there are options about how to proceed. One of those is to give the person the benefit of the doubt. This expression apparently refers to the legal phrase “reasonable doubt” first documented in the 18th Century English law. The phrase was accepted as the degree of doubt required to acquit a criminal defendant and was defined in terms of moral certainty. In the 20th Century “reasonable doubt” was given constitutional status in the U.S. as a standard that reduces the risk of false convictions. This expression continues to be commonly used when assessing criminal culpability.

Conflict: Fact or Fiction? (10/26/12)
Our perceptions of what actually occurred in a dispute are not all that reliable in the aftermath of hurtful interactions. Our emotional experiences of conflict have a huge impact on us and one of the results is that our perspective on what happened gets muddled and muddied. What we think is an absolute truth about the event and the exchange about it is often not the other person’s perception of the absolute truth.

Standing Up for Yourself (10/19/12)
Sometimes during conflict we lose our confidence and composure. We may become plagued with self-doubt and feel we are not able to stand up for ourselves. We back down at these times and give in to the other person. We may regret doing so and admonish ourselves for lack of courage or ‘guts’. This and other self-limiting beliefs eat away at our self-esteem and we may feel all the more helpless and powerless.

Fighting When in Conflict (09/11/12)
Fighting with others is not a necessary part of being in conflict, though for many people these are synonymous. The inclination to fight is one reaction when we are having an interpersonal disagreement with another person. The situation, the person, the stakes, the degree we perceive the offense, and so on are variables that determine which approach we take when provoked and the extent to which we react.

Freezing When in Conflict (08/06/12)
When considering that one response to being provoked is to freeze, this week’s blog encourages thinking about what that means and what to do about it. So, what does freezing mean in the context of conflict? It may be a matter of becoming hard and cold internally or towards the other person or both. It may also be a reaction that reflects feeling immobilized. We feel powerless to know what to say or do. Typically, our brains are ‘on hold’ and we are not able to think at these times. These and other ways that freezing affects us have a huge impact on the journey that our interpersonal conflicts take. That is, if we freeze, regardless of the form it takes, the result of such a response effects the outcome.

Feeling Confused in Conflict? (07/30/12)
In the midst of conflict, it is common to feel confused – wondering what is happening and why, experiencing mixed emotions, feeling out of control or immobilized, and so on. At these times, we often don’t have a sense of what to do or what to say. Since our confusion obviously interferes with our ability to think clearly, we may tend to act and react on emotions. The outcome we want, how to get there, and how to manage our emotions are muddled in our hearts and brains.

The Cold Shoulder (07/23/12)
One of the reactions to people who provoke us is to give them ‘the cold shoulder’. In the dictionaries I consulted, I found that the source of this is Sir Walter Scott. There is no reason explaining its derivation but rather descriptors of what the expression reflects, including words such as aloofness and disdain.

Reading Into Things (07/17/12)
It’s not a straightforward exercise to figure out from where and how our assumptions come to us. Life experience, family, friends, teachers, observations, gossip, others’ tales, and a wide range of variables have an impact on our thinking. How we interpret peoples’ words, actions, behaviours, attitudes, etc. leads us to act and react in ways that are based on our assumptions – not necessarily on what is actually intended. Conflict can easily arise from erroneous perceptions and misinterpretations. Unexplored attributions are antithetical to any effort to master conflict responses.

Conflict Management Coaching at the Transportation Security Administration (10/19/09)
In 2003, the Transportation Security Administration, (TSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, initiated the development of an Integrated Conflict Management System (ICMS), as part of an innovative Model Workplace Program. A Conflict Management Coaching Program (CMCP) emerged early on as one of the many unique service delivery components of this ICMS. This article discusses how this innovative program was designed and addresses how the CMCP has emerged as an integral component of TSA’s ICMS.

Measuring Conflict Coaching (05/26/08)
As it becomes a more defined technique in the ADR field, those who provide conflict coaching will be increasingly discussing its many applications and also, the ways to increase its legitimacy, as a distinct mechanism. This article suggests that to successfully increase conflict coaching’s credibility, it is important that practitioners together with the organization for which they work (or for which they provide external services), consider how this process may be measured as a mechanism that increases conflict competence and short circuits the unnecessary escalation of conflict.

Mindfulness in Conflict Coaching (08/07/06)
Conflict coaching is a fast emerging technique in the field of ADR. As a specialized process for helping individuals effectively engage in conflict, coaches assist individuals to determine what will best enable them to reach their objectives, when it comes to how they manage a specific dispute, or conflict in general. To provide coaching in a way that is client-centered and transformative, it is important that coaches develop the capacity to be mindful.

Conflict Coaching – When It Works And When It Doesn't (02/20/06)
Conflict coaching is a one on one voluntary and confidential process that combines ADR and coaching principles. It is at its very essence, an individualized method for helping people effectively engage in conflict. The focus of this article is when conflict coaching works and when it does not.

A Coach Approach For Conflict Management Training (01/17/05)
It is an understatement to say that generic conflict management training is really not enough. That is, it is not realistic to operate on the basis that one to three days of training in conflict management, fully equips people to effectively manage conflict, between themselves and others, or as a facilitator/mediator. It is a great start. However, it has become increasingly clear to this trainer, that other modalities such as pre and/or post-training coaching on conflict management, a staged approach to training and other methods help facilitate, optimize and sustain learning.

Post Mediation Coaching (08/30/04)
As the field of coaching takes a foothold in the conflict management world, best practices and procedures will increasingly develop. Some dispute resolution professionals have been providing various forms of coaching in their work, for many years. However, there appears to be a growth in the development of a one-to-one coach approach for among other things, helping people improve their conflict management skills, prevent unnecessary disputes and to effectively resolve those that do arise. This article is about post-mediation coaching, one of the applications of coaching.

Peer Conflict Coaching: Another Dispute Resolution Option (08/09/04)
Conflict coaching is a concept that combines dispute resolution and coaching principles. It is a one-on-one confidential and voluntary process in which coaches work with individual clients to help them resolve disputes and to prevent unnecessary ones. Peer coaching may be used for many reasons and in many contexts, including conflict. Peer conflict coaching is a specific process in which staff members coach others at their same 'level'. That is, manager to manager, non-manager to non-manager.

Mediation Coaching: A Form Of Conflict Coaching (04/05/04)
To varying degrees, mediators coach parties when assisting them throughout the mediation process and particularly, in pre-mediations. However, the premise of mediation coaching as a form of conflict coaching, is that the coach assists one of the parties who wants help with matters that are beyond the usual scope of the mediator’s role. The role of a coach in terms of preparing and supporting a party for mediation is also quite different from a client’s union or legal representative, who may take a more adversarial approach that focuses on strategy and result.

Conflict Coaching For Leaders (05/19/03)
One of the areas with which leaders often require help is conflict management. Executives and people in managerial positions typically view conflict as inevitable, but do not always realize how their workplaces and their strength as leaders may be improved with increased competency in conflict management.

Options In Conflict Management System Design (07/01/02)
Some organizations name conflict management as a competency, assessing managers’ proficiency in developing working relationships that prevent and resolve disputes in the workplace. How to help managers (and other staff) become proficient may be accomplished in a number of ways, including through conflict management systems that provide multiple options and access points for users.

Conflict Coaching: A Preventative Form of Dispute Resolution (05/06/02)
The fields of coaching and dispute resolution effectively unite in the provision of interest-based conflict coaching. Mediators have operative skills and knowledge to apply ADR principles for the purpose of coaching people to prevent and resolve disputes. The addition of conflict coach training expands that integral base and extends the dispute resolution field to one-on-one assistance with conflict management.

Conflict Management Through Coaching (10/17/01)
Conflict management coaching combines ADR and the burgeoning field of coaching. This application of dispute resolution skills is aimed at helping individuals improve the way they deal with conflict in general. Conflict coaching may also be used to prepare a party for a specific negotiation or mediation. In all cases, conflict coaching requires practitioners to use many of the skills DR professionals apply as mediators, but in a different context and on a one-to-one basis.


Conflict Management Coaching - Streaming
This 1 hour course gives an introduction to Conflict Management Coaching, by Cinergy Coaching Founder Cinnie Noble.

This course covers how to set-up a coaching session, who should be coached, where coaching fits into the dispute resolution process, and the length of a session. Ethical and confidentiality issues are also discussed.

Finally, Cinnie provides sample coaching cases of varying complexity.

This course is not intended to be a complete coaching training. Rather it is designed to provide information for those who are interested in pursuing coaching.

Conflict Management Coaching: