Do You Need a Coach?
In many parts of our lives, we need experts to guide us in the right direction or help handle a problem that seems to have no solution. Thanks to a grant from the Adams County Community Foundation, Mediation Services of Adams County was able to send two experienced mediators for training in Conflict Coaching with the Good Shepherd Community Mediation Center in Philadelphia. Rosie Bolen, a professor at Mount St. Mary’s University, and Bob Smith, a retired business executive, have both had practical experience in working with individual and community conflicts. With their expertise, Mediation Services is pleased to offer Conflict Coaching as a service for the community.
Who needs a conflict coach? For starters, if you would like to mediate but you think the other party might not, or will not, come to the table, a conflict coach can help you figure out what to do next, including the pros and cons of seeking legal counsel. Conflict coaching is also useful for someone who is considering mediation but is unsure what it involves. Or maybe someone has asked you to mediate and you don’t want to, but you would like some help in taking the next step. Perhaps you think that counseling would be helpful but you’re not sure. If you want to take someone to court but aren’t sure about expenses, a conflict coach can help. Let’s say you want to help someone else through a bad situation but don’t have all the answers — time to find a coach!
A conflict coach can help anyone with a difficult problem to figure out the next step. However, conflict coaching should not be confused with counseling as in behavioral health. Conflict coaches cannot mend broken marriages, resolve long-standing family arguments, or help someone find a way out of depression. Coaches can, however, provide a sounding board for someone who is baffled by alternatives or needs to find clarity concerning conflict. A coach can help you explore options and think through the advantages and disadvantages of each.
You may decide to pursue the legal route after meeting with a conflict coach. You might opt to press charges through a district justice or hire a lawyer to help solve the problem. Others may elect to pursue some other form of alternative conflict resolution, such as arbitration, family group decision making, or just “talking things over” with the other party. The point is that a conflict coach, while understanding the ins and outs of disputes, also has a good knowledge of community resources and can make much-needed referrals.
When someone seeks conflict coaching, the coach tries to understand the individual’s needs and goals. The individual and the coach may discuss the situation in question, how people behave in conflict situations, different approaches to conflict, and options to aid resolution. Each session lasts between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on a party’s needs.
How can you make arrangements for conflict coaching? To speak to an intake coordinator, call 717-334-7213 or contact MSAC by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Conflict coaching is not expensive. We operate on a sliding scale according to income, with rates beginning at $10 and going up to $50 per session. Check us out!
Janet M Powers is MSAC Presiding Officer and Professor Emerita at Gettysburg College.