We naturally create stories to help us making meaning of our world, but in conflict situations the kinds of stories we typically tell ourselves can actually make it harder for us to manage and resolve the conflict constructively. This book provides an accessible framework for understanding why people tell their conflict stories the way they do, and how to help them move away from conflict stories that prevent them from understanding and responding to conflict in an effective way.
Presented using highly engaging and accessible cases, the book is designed to help people working with others in conflict to fully support them by understanding which areas of the conflict story to focus their attention on, and using practical techniques to support people to rewrite their story into a more constructive one to better manage the situation. The book also provides practical strategies to help people who are themselves in a conflict scenario to rewrite and enact a version of their conflict story that helps them to more constructively manage, and often resolve, their situation. A conflict management coaching system is introduced that is designed to address the particular problems created by dysfunctional conflict stories.
This is a book specifically for those who work with people in conflict (mediators, conflict coaches, managers, lawyers, HR staff, teachers) and also for anyone who wishes to better understand their own experience of conflict.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited or by the publishers or by their respective licensors: all rights reserved.
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Samantha Hardy PhD has over 25 years' international experience practicing and teaching conflict management. She is the lead trainer at CCIAcademy.com and the founder of the REAL Conflict Coaching System. (TM) She provides conflict and leadership coaching and training face-to-face and online. In 2021, Samantha was presented with the Australian Resolution Institute Award for Service to Dispute Resolution for her outstanding contribution/practice in dispute resolution.
PART I: Conflict Stories
1. Conflict stories, narratives and genre
3. The melodramatic conflict narrative
4. Melodramatic victims
5. Melodramatic villains
6. Why is the melodramatic conflict narrative problematic?
7. Tragedy - the alternative conflict story
8. The shift from melodrama to tragedy
PART II: Conflict Coaching to Support Story Development
9. Coaching to facilitate the shift
10. Simple to complex
11. Certain to uncertain
12. Passive to active
13. Dependence to agency
14. Past to future
15. Suffering to learning
16. The REAL Conflict Coaching SystemTM
"People in conflict tell stories about what they experienced - sometimes to mend the fabric of a newly-torn reality, or explore the meaning of what happened, or demonize their opponents, or justify their own behavior - but always to discover a way out, or return to their own un-conflicted selves, or tell the story in a way that imparts insight into the deeper reasons why it happened, allowing it to be forgotten. Samantha Hardy, a self-confessed "pracademic," brings a wonderful combination of practical coaching and mediation skills, a high level of emotional insight, and a profound understanding of the nature of narrative and melodrama to this excellent and immensely useful book. Every practitioner will learn something from it and walk away with a deeper understanding of the role of melodrama and tragedy in conflict stories, and a great many practical coaching and mediation skills to boot! It is an enjoyable read and well worth the price." - Kenneth Cloke, Mediator and author of The Dance of Opposites: Explorations in Mediation, Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Systems Design
"Sam is inviting you to look at conflict through a whole new set of eyes. The unique and entertaining lens that she is offering is genres of literature. She has uncovered and is taking you on a journey to discover healthy and unhealthy conflict story patterns. These insights provide you with the power to (re)-write your own, or help others (re)-write their, conflict narratives in a way that helps define new ways for moving forward and find peace with the past. A must for conflict specialists and people who want to critically reflect on their own approach to conflict." - Claudia Butler, Professional Conflict Navigator, Australia
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