Many people will go to great lengths to avoid conflict. Today’s show explains how acknowledging and leaning into conflict actually strengthens trust and intimacy in the coaching partnership. We’ll discuss how to set aside assumptions and get to a place of acceptance and openness, not making conflict a problem, but realizing that conflict is part of life!

Annie Gelfand is a Master Certified Coach and host of The Essence of Mastery Summit, which is sponsoring this episode. Annie has been coaching individuals, teams, and relationships to make a radical change since 1997 and has been in business for over three decades. As the founder of her company, Radical Wisdom, she holds an MBA and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach,  an ICF PCC and MCC assessor as well as an MCC. She’s a pioneer in many areas and has a diverse range of life experience, including living in rural India for 7 years while studying under a meditation and yoga master. Her latest endeavor, The Essence of Mastery Summit, provides continuing education for certified coaches who are keeping up their re-credentialing hours, which have to be completed on a 3-year renewal cycle. The summit pulls 14 masterful coaches together who bring their A-game to the coaching core competencies. Special early-bird pricing allows you to get 17 core competency credits for only $147, and you have an entire year to complete the training and claim the credits. My word of advice is to plan out your continuing education credits and use the link in our Resources section below to take advantage of this awesome opportunity!

Show Highlights:

  • Why The Essence of Mastery Summit was created to change the nature of the conversations we have with each other
  • The differences in the PCC and MCC coaching processes
  • Why avoiding conclusions and assumptions is a huge task for coaches
  • Annie’s technique, “Slow Time Down,” is a way to deal with triggers in which conflict and disagreement don’t make someone an enemy
  • How to increase your awareness of triggers:
    • Navigate the difficult conversations
    • Learn from clients and meet them where they are
    • Observe, but don’t judge
  • Why a client having an emotion does NOT mean they need therapy
  • How we can help a client self-manage by naming what’s going on
  • Why we are so accustomed to making assumptions that it has become normalized
  • How conflict is NOT a power struggle where one person has to “win”
  • Three steps to navigating difficult conversations:
    • Be willing to name the conflict
    • Take a step back and take a look at what’s going on by asking questions
    • Be willing to be vulnerable
  • How to use a repair bid and deep democracy
  • How to say what’s true for you without making the other person wrong
  • Notice how you can be present with the other person and get out of your own way with thoughts and assumptions
  • How Annie pulled the coaches together from whom she wanted to learn—and created The Essence of Mastery Summit


The Essence of Mastery Summit Register for the summit and take advantage of early-bird pricing!

The Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsch

Arnold Mindell’s books can be found at Amazon

Find Annie’s handout:  Leaning into Conflict Slides

Episodes mentioned in the show:

13: Using the Four Agreements in Coaching

103: Cynthia Loy Darst, MFA, CPCC, ORSCC, MCC: Meet Your Inside Team

105: Jane Adshead-Grant, MCC: Journey to MCC

107: Fran Fisher, MCC: How to Establish a Clear Coaching Agreement

123: Georgina Woudstra, MCC: The Emerging Field of Team Coaching: Understanding the Differentiators

126: Molly Gordon, MCC: The Coaching Partnership