Learning to be with Conflict

Photo by John Morgan

Photo by John Morgan

I've joked recently that some people call me a "process coach" because I am not a technical coach, but given that the Agile Manifesto values individuals and interactions over processes and tools, it might be more accurate to call me an "individuals and interactions coach."  And since I focus on individuals and interactions, I have quite a bit of experience with conflict--from simple disagreements about tasks all the way to someone might be destroyed in the end.  It isn't always easy stepping into a team and witnessing conflict when it has been festering.

So why put myself there?  Because I can help the team navigate the conflict when they are struggling to do so on their own.  By letting them know that conflict is normal, I can make it safe to talk openly about what's going on for them.  Sometimes I walk into a meeting knowing about one conflict within the team only to discover that there are multiple conflicts present!  Being able to facilitate so team members are willing to say their truths and helping them to hear one another can be exciting--you can feel the energy in the room shift as the conflicts are revealed.  The discussion unfolds, and the energy becomes more positive.  That's a wonderful feeling.

To better understand conflict and learn to be with conflict, I suggest watching this video:

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.