I recently had a situation at work in which I got into a conflict with a customer. The source of the situation was extremely trivial and early on in the conversation I offered to buy the customer a coffee to bring resolve. The problem was that the customers agenda was to be "right" and the conversation became very one sided. After listening and repeatedly acknowledging that I understood his perspective etc. etc. I had enough and directed him to my manager. After speaking to the manager, the customer stormed off, returning a couple hours later. While I was on a break, the customer called me over as he wanted to speak further about what had happened. At this point I had decided that no matter what, I would do everything I could to avoid further conflict . It was simply not worth it and the stakes were very low as there was no need to preserve the relationship with the customer. During the conversation the customer strongly stated the ground rules for the conversation. I was to remain silent, he was not going to apologize and that there would be a "but" that he would explain later. The end result was that I listened to him and walked away with a sick feeling in my stomach. The conversation that took place was completely opposite to everything I teach about communication and conflict. Essentially this customer created a situation in which I was unable to "Own My Voice" and I made a conscious choice to just get through the conversation.
I have been so lucky to gain some invaluable resources during my coach training which I also use as communication tools. The coaching training that I took is co-active. Simply stated, it means that both participants are actively involved and each contribute to the conversation and are listening at a high level. Co-activity is like a great volly during a tennis game. The opposite would be playing tennis against a wall. In order for conflict to be co-active each person needs to design this upfront together. In my situation above there was no volly or return or opportunity to create that reality and the stakes were low. When co-active conversations happen, space is created for listening, acknowledgement, understanding and creative solutions to emerge. It is the equivalent of walking the path together vs. walking in opposite directions. Which energy do you choose? Co-active or Reactive?
Owning Your Voice
Stepping Into the Flow of Your Hearts Desires
This is a 2 part workshop. September 19th & 26th 6pm – 9pm