Thursday, August 18, 2011

Conflict and Groups

The ability and confidence to deal with conflict in a group context is often a big question on the minds of coaches and facilitators who are starting to work with groups. Often practioners new to this work are uncomfortable or nervous when it comes to dealing with conflict.

As I wrote in my book, Effective Group Coaching, "conflict can emerge when

There is a lack of clarity of roles within the group;

There is lack of clarity, or uncertainty, about where the program is going;

There is insecurity {on the part of participants}

There is fear {around an issue}

Expectations are not being met

Conflict can be as subtle as the withdrawal of a participant (a participant shuts down) or as extreme as verbal conflict emerging between two participants” (Britton, Wiley, 2010)

Consider for yourself:

  • What conflict if any has shown up in this group?
  • Is there potential for conflict?
  • What needs to be made more explicit/more clear?
  • What does this group need as it relates to the conflict that is showing up (or is possible)?
  • What will make you more confident in your ability to work with conflict when it shows up in your groups?
Remember that conflict is not always bad. In fact, conflict is often the seeds for creativity and change.

Warm regards


Jennifer Britton

Group Coaching

Early Bird rate on the Toronto Group Coaching Intensive (November 5-6) until September 15th. The next Group Coaching Essentials program (6.75 ICF CCEs) starts Thursday September 16th at 10:30 am ET.