Last week I got the chance to attend a workshop on Conflict Coaching. It was hosted by the Good Shepherd Mediation Center here in Philadelphia. Conflict Coaching grew out of a need to help people manage conflict in their lives when mediation or litigation was not the answer.
I was very happy to learn that this type of coaching is not so different from the coach training I received to become a life coach. The process is similar, and the goals are the same: to help support your client and help them find some answers.
One of the most important things a coach can do to help their client from day 1 is to listen and listen well. Focusing on hearing the client’s story, and allowing them to be heard on center stage is so important!
Whether someone needs to vent or just lay out the situation to an attentive listener, this process has huge results. [ Coaches don’t need to be empathetic, but rather sympathetic. What’s the difference? Being sympathetic means “I hear you, and I understand why this is hard on you.” While being empathetic is more like taking the client’s struggles as your own.]
Anyway, the point is, that if someone gets to tell their story and feels as though they have been heard and understood, it allows them to drop some of the stress. They literally have shared their burden and feel relief. It not only helps people calm down, but it gives them some space to take a few breaths and think more clearly.
And, really, if we are going to resolve all those conflicts flying around all over the place, we are going to need some crystal clear thinking!
So take the time this week to listen to someone who needs it. You may not have all the answers, but you’ll help them relieve some stress and maybe give them enough breathing room to figure it all out.
It’s worth a try!