Coaching vs. Mediation?
Monday, February 27, 2012 at 2:19PM
Essrea Cherin

Coaching is a great alternative to mediation.  

There may be times when you are 'butting heads' with someone in your life and it is not the kind of relationship where you would engage in a formal dispute resolution process but it is critical that you learn how to communicate with this person.  These 'difficult people' in our lives could be parents, spouses, children, employees, co-workers or supervisors.  They may not recognize there is a problem and therefore would be unresponsive to your invitation to mediate a situation, or they may not be interested either. Oftentimes when we are in a position of lower power, the other person has no incentive to engage in mediation. These are just some of the many reasons we may wish to seek out a coach rather than a mediator.  

Individual and Specific Attention

A coach can work with us individually to better understand why the 'Other' continues to behave as he/she does and what we might be able to do to effect a different outcome.  A coach can help us strategize better ways to respond ourselves, so as to avoid the downward spiral that seems to prevade our communications with this particularly difficult person in our lives.  

Learn to Fish

Coaching offers an opportunity to learn techniques and tools that can help us in ANY conflict in our lives, not just the persnickety one we happen to be facing when we seek out a coach.  As the Chinese proverb says, "Give someone a fish and they eat for a day. Teach someone to fish and they eat for a lifetime."

Win-Win is the Bottom Line

The beauty, too, is that a coach will never make the other person wrong, knowing that we are all human and it is just a matter of learning how to work with each individual's unique characteristics.  Sometimes we have blind spots and just need help from someone who understands these sorts of dynamics.  

This is when a coach is helpful to have around!

Article originally appeared on Conflict Resolution and Management: Coaching Clients to Harmonious Results (
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