Conflict Resolution Models


The word “conversation” comes from the Latin root conversari, which means “to associate with”. The prefix con meaning “together” or “with”.  It’s an exchange of ideas and sentiments. As much as we’d all like to only engage in true conversations that are moving us toward a positive outcome, we occasionally don’t: at times like these, there is no exchange.

Here are a few Conflict Models that I use as Coaching tools, either with people facing conflict sitautions, or using them as tools in their Coaching practice, that take different approaches to resolving conflict.

“Courageous Conversations” model

We sometimes have to have conversations which for a variety of reasons we could describe as “difficult”. This goes with the territory of working with others. For many people though, they find themselves in the moment not saying what they really wanted to say or indeed saying too much!

Moving from the zone of the comfortable debate to the zone of the uncomfortable debate takes courage. It takes some courage too to stay with the discomfort long enough to say what needs to be said in a way which in honouring and has impact. The reality for many of us though, is that we leave such moments with a sense of a gap between what we wanted to say and what was said in reality.

The courageous conversations model uses an approach of 3 Es to manage the conflict:

  • Explain the gap
    This is the critical phase where we clearly explain the issue and get on the table what we need to talk through
  • Explore the gap
    This phase of the conversation will be based around considerable questioning and listening from both people. There may well be a qualitative shift here from discussion to real dialogue
  • Eliminate the gap
    This is where we reach a clear and tested consensus about how we intend to move forward

To see the complete Model, click here

Other people’s shoes

This model or techniques uses aspects of NLP theory, and originally Gestalt approaches.It asks an individual to think of a moderately difficult situation with a person whom they have been in conflict with, or to whom they would like to give feedback.

Position 1: is the position of self
Position 2: looking and examining the position of the other person
Position 3: taking the position of a neutral observer
Position 4: reflecting back on the self in Position 1, having reflected and learnt from the other positions

To see the complete Model, click here

Conflict between people model

This model is taken from a care context, and encourages people to work through a step by step approach to managing conflict. It has similarities to other peoples shoes in the principles of looking at your own perspoective, and that of the other person, taking a slightly different tack to:

  • Outline the situation
  • Your perspective, feeling and actions towards the other person
  • The other persons perspective and feelings
  • Which of the 3 steps from either yourself or the other person is needed to break the cycle

The aim is to try to get individuals to see how breaking the cycle needs change from only one party, regardless of where the fault appears to lie or who started the cycle.

To see the complete Model, click here