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The Handbook of Knowledge-Based Coaching: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE by Diane Brennan, Leni Wildflower

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UNDERSTANDING CONFLICT

Conflict is a human dynamic that causes us to become entrenched in emotion. Once we enter an emotional state, such as anxiety, anger, or resentment, we lose perspective and get caught up in the emotion rather than the issue.

According to Ken Cloke and Joan Goldsmith, when we are in conflict, what is at stake is not the trivial issue that first ignites the dispute, but “our capacity for mutual respect, integrity, inner truth, and honest relationships with others” (2000, p. 113). They use the image of an iceberg to suggest the unseen depths that might underlie the apparent issue. As the iceberg of conflict graphically demonstrates, the issue is simply what is visible at the surface. It may have little or no connection to ...

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