Conflict Resolution Coaching

Dickinson College wants to encourage an atmosphere where life's everyday conflicts can be successfully resolved in a respectful and productive manner. Sometimes when faced with a conflict situation, it is useful to have a neutral and confidential resource, someone with whom to discuss approaches to conflict resolution, consider options, or clarify the underlying issue that is most important to you. The Conflict Resolution Resource Services offers "coaching" sessions on an individual or group basis.

Conflict "coaching" is an application of conflict mediation skills and training to work with one party to a conflict. In a coaching session, the individual experiencing a conflict with another party has the opportunity to consider a full range of options and responses in the conflict situation. Individuals can prepare mentally and emotionally to approach the other person involved in the conflict and develop a plan for constructively addressing the conflict situation.

The "coach" is a neutral "third-party" who is trained to help people in a conflict assess their situation and their options. The coach will not "take your side," nor will the coach make specific recommendations for your course of action. Rather, the coach will ask you questions about the conflict: the preconditions to the dispute, the unfolding of the dispute, your position and possible interests, why and what about this conflict matters to you, what you know of the positions and interests of the disputing party, etc. These questions will be designed to expand your perspective and help you create and consider options.

Conflict coaching is useful when you feel stuck in a conflict situation and don't know what your next step should be, or you think that your next step will only escalate the conflict and you want to seek a more constructive alternative. The responsibility to choose a course of action remains your own, but the conflict coaching can help you explore more options that may help you resolve the conflict.


Conflict resolution is a skill that can be learned! Skill building sessions are available to student groups on campus. Contact the CRRS  with inquiries about scheduling conflict resolution skill building sessions.

Here are the standard Conflict Skillbuilding sessions that CRRS offers:

Level I - What we each bring to conflict. Introducing the "conflict cycle". Escalation and De-escalation.

Level II - "Conflict Styles" and "Conflict IQ"--both with an accompanying self-assessment instrument and discussion to understand how these concepts apply to conflict situations individual participants have encountered.

Level III - Getting to "Win-Win"--building collaborative approaches to conflict resolution.

Additional sessions can be tailored to your particular needs.


Mediation is a conversation between two parties in conflict, structured and assisted by a neutral third party, the mediator. The structure of a mediation session allows both parties to move beyond their initial positions to discover their own and the other's underlying interests. The parties can then generate options to address their needs. When mediation is successful, the parties review and select the best options, and conclude with a written agreement.

Mediation is typically voluntary, though in some cases conflicting parties can be encouraged by persons with authority. Because the parties do come to the session willingly, the typical rate of successful resolution is extremely high. And, because the parties themselves created the solution, it is typically a long-lasting solution.

Mediation is confidential. Even in cases where two parties may be encouraged to mediation (as in the case of a supervisor referring staff members to mediation to work out a problem, or two students who choose the mediation option within the judicial process of Community's Standards), the only information that is disclosed would be that the parties did indeed attend a mediation session and that they did, or did not, reach agreement.