In my experience, when people talk about their workplace relationship problems, they tend to attribute the responsibility and blame to the other party and keep focusing on how the other person is just not living up to their expectations. These internal conversations are rarely effective as they fail to acknowledge the relationship as an independent entity and how each person contributes to the “dance” they create together.
When an individual comes to coaching because they find themselves in a difficult workplace relationship, their first session often resembles a court proceeding where the coach is expected to act as judge and jury, and find fault with the missing party. This is not a realistic expectation nor is it effective. It is more constructive to ask yourself “how can I change the way I think about this situation so I can react to it differently and create a different outcome?” This will reinstate some sense of personal power that is often lost at time of conflict.
Your coach will likely challenge you to enter into a process where you will be assisted to expand your perspective of the problem, appreciate the other person’s interests and see yourself as the change agent. Coaching can support you in learning the following when it comes to managing difficult workplace relationships:
- how to create a safe environment for yourself and the other person,
- avoid war by having collaborative conversations,
- understand that for most people, their approach to communication is hard wired in their brain rather than intentional,
- how to appease a situation instead of jumping into the melée and escalating the exchange,
- build in best practices for communication in your busy schedule and
- become a go-to person who can see beyond the initial problem.
Remember the stories we make in our head about a situation are not necessarily the truth. They are just “one” perspective. Don’t get married to your stories and you will find freedom from conflict.