“Hey, Manager. I’m having a conflict with John and Sue. Can’t work it out. Let’s get a conflict coach in here.”
If you can say this openly and directly to your manager/supervisor, you’re lucky! Many people are reluctant to admit they cannot resolve a dispute that a situation has escalated past a manageable point or even that they have a conflict at all. You may have come to the conclusion that a conflict coach will help – but how do you ensure your manager comes to the same conclusion?
When you are asking for a conflict coach, you have to be able to phrase it in the right terms to the decision-maker(s). You have to make it sound like it’s for their benefit, which is certainly not a stretch in this case. What’s in it for them?
In a word, money. Conflict impacts the bottom line by:
- Impacting your ability to be productive, as well as the ability of those who are involved in the conflict.
- Infringing on the organization’s ability to carry out its purpose, mission, and objectives.
- Wasting money. It is expensive when people leave, whether they are fired or they quit. It is expensive to search for candidates, screen, interview, hire, and train them.
- Increasing presenteeism, absenteeism, and disability costs.
- Decreasing revenue, customer satisfaction, and productivity.
It all comes down to this: it is less expensive to hire a conflict coach for two or three sessions than it is to replace employees or tolerate chronic conflict. Typically, it is within only two or three sessions that people start developing the coping techniques and tools they need to handle conflict on their own. Businesses respond to efficiency, and coaching makes a powerful case.
Here’s another point: you are offering a solution. Here’s this problem that we’re having. Here’s what we can do about it. You are offering potential problems vs. the potential of creating a functional, productive team. It should be a fairly easy sell.