One of the major premises of conflict coaching is that the opportunity for growth and learning exists in any situation.
We all face conflicts in our lives; some, we start, others are forced upon us, but each of us has our own way of dealing with them. Most people don’t particularly like conflicts, as they tend to be explosive, destructive, often violent, painful, and discomforting, so it is not surprising that society has ingrained the philosophy of reducing the presence of conflicts in our lives. But yet, conflicts are still present.
In fact, conflicts are continuously present in our lives. I dare to take it even further - that conflicts are the driving force in our lives. Not only are conflicts unavoidable, but they also serve as sources of energy for us to live and grow. This energy is what drives us to action; it is the best motivating factor to push us to such action. Just like in the physical world where we need to have a conflict between positive and negative poles in order to generate power, so it is in our lives that we have conflicts to produce the energy required to motivate our actions.
There are different types of conflicts reflecting various aspects of our lives but they fall mainly into two groups - external and internal. External conflicts are interpersonal or relational between people, groups, communities, organizations, and countries. The driving force behind this type of conflict, perceived as negative, will lead to change. However, what direction this change will take is up to us. It can move organizations to adjust their operations, or it can move countries on a path of improved policies.
Internal conflicts are those that challenge our values, beliefs, needs, etc. They can be destructive if the people involved perceive it as a threat to their existence. This threat leads people to act from a place of fear and anger. On a personal level, conflicts create an even stronger fear. This kind of conflict requires a change of thought within us, whether it co
ncerns our beliefs, our needs, or our values. In this ever-changing world, everything changes and pulls us along in the process. We can’t separate ourselves from the world, and we can’t prepare for every change. and demand it be thrown toward us. Our personal worldview (aka our bubble) is where we feel safe, but the more we hide and protect our bubble, the stronger the conflict within us becomes, and the more powerful the force is.
Societal Development of Conflict
In the social context, conflicts are responsible for the structure of our society. In fact, conflicts played an even stronger role at the dawn of our civilization. The natural selection process ensured that the viable species and the strongest groups of people survived and prospered until better and stronger tribes or groups came along. Conflict, internal functioning, cooperation, and integrity allowed the fittest to survive and contribute to the development of contemporary society.