Become a Master at Resolving Conflict at Home or Work
4.5 (648 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,592 students enrolled

Become a Master at Resolving Conflict at Home or Work

Learn Communication Skills to Manage Conflict and Increase your Emotional Intelligence
4.5 (644 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,592 students enrolled
Last updated 6/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $69.99 Original price: $99.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • 9 articles
  • 14 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • How to prevent disagreements from becoming unhealthy conflict
  • A framework and steps for entering into difficult conversations and resolving conflict
  • The mindset, confidence and skills to facilitate conflict resolution
  • The advantages and disadvantages of different communication styles
  • How to calm and manage yourself during conflict
  • A willingness to learn a new way of thinking
  • A desire to improve your communication and work through conflicts at home or at work

This course will give you the communication skills to successfully resolve disagreements and turn conflict into productive dialogue so that you can not only solve your shared problems but also grow in emotional intelligence and experience enjoyable connections with others.

The dictionary defines conflict as a serious disagreement or argument. Synonyms include dispute, quarrel, squabble, discord, strife, antagonism. These are not pleasant words. And yet it is likely that you understand their meaning not because you’ve looked them up in a dictionary but because you’ve experienced them. We’ve all been caught up in the unpleasant experience of conflict. For example,

  • You're not able to sleep due to a neighbor's late-night music or barking dog.

  • You’re on a sales team which has won a big contract. Your new customer wants your product quickly and at as low a price as possible. However, engineering wants to slow the project down to ensure that all technical and quality standards are met. You’re in a tug of war.

  • A few of the neighbors have not been paying their homeowners association dues. Others are violating the property rules.

  • You’ve come up with good technical solutions to a thorny problem but wonder if there is the political will to implement your recommendations.

  • Your boss wants you to work overtime this weekend when you’ve planned a big outing with your family.

  • A teenager has trouble getting off the computer to do his chores.

  • You and your partner have totally different opinions when it comes to a major life decision.

  • A young adult child has returned home and is now living off of you and your spouse claiming that she hasn’t been able to find a good job.

This is just a small sampling of situations that involve conflict or at least the potential for conflict. Notice a few characteristics of these situations: our emotions are aroused, the stakes are high, the outcome is uncertain, and opinions vary.

Most of us don’t like dealing with these situations. They disrupt our peace of mind and cause emotional discomfort. Unresolved conflict is why family members become alienated and half of all marriages end in divorce. It also accounts for 50% of the turnover in companies. Dealing with conflict is not easy.

Conflict is inevitable

And yet conflict, at least disagreement, is an inevitable part of life. We know this. We come from different backgrounds, have distinct personalities, perspectives, needs, values, roles, goals and priorities, all of which set us up to experience disagreements if not outright conflict.

So, the question is not whether we’ll experience conflict but rather how we will handle it. And, unfortunately, we have little training in how to manage it.

Our natural tendencies are harmful

My experience as a psychologist, marriage counselor, business consultant, and executive coach has taught me that many of our natural tendencies are harmful. They make things worse rather than better. Some people, when facing conflict, go into an aggressive and fight mode, others run emotionally and resort to silence or appeasement, and still others distract and avoid. Although our natural tendencies are intended to reduce the impact of conflict, they actually and make it worse in the long run.

The Process of Dialogue

Therefore, learning to deal with conflict is one of the most important skills we can learn. I teach you to deal with conflict through dialogue, a skill of communication in which people listen to understand one another’s point of view and then agree upon options to solve problems and/or resolve their disagreements.

This process encourages deep listening to others, a willingness to share your own point of view and search for solutions that are good for all and not just a minority. Dialogue is talking openly—even about subjects that have historically been “undiscussable.” The more openly we can talk, the better will be our solutions to conflict and the more unified and committed we’ll be to carry them out.

The most successful people are good at handling conflict

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the most successful people, in any walk of life, are good at handling conflict. They are willing to face conflict directly and are even willing to enter into difficult and sensitive conversations that others want to flee and avoid. They can do this because they understand the dynamics of conflict and how to create trusting conditions that will open up communication and lead to positive, even amazing outcomes.

Importance of conflict resolution skills in our personal relationships

Howard Markman and his colleagues studied 150 couples for 13 years. The couples would come into their lab each year and furnish a massive amount of information about their marriages. In addition, they would subject themselves to being video-taped which the researchers would then analyze for patterns and themes. Their conclusion, at the end of this long-term study was that “it is not how much you love each other, how good your sex life is or what problems you have with money that best predicts the future quality of your marriage….the best predictor of marital success is how you handle conflicts and disagreements.

This is also true in all our personal relationships. How many people are alienated from extended family members because of the difficulty of holding good, honest conversations? Or how many parents and children are alienated because of their inability to communicate effectively? Dialogue changes that.

Importance of dialogue in our organizations

Furthermore, I believe that organizations are filled with intelligent, capable people who fall back on poor styles of communicating because it is not safe to express their opinions. The consequences to organizations can be serious if not devastating. Respect is lost. Trust is destroyed. Only a fraction of the ideas necessary for the organizations long-term survival make it to the light of day. The best employees leave and those who stay disengage and do only enough to hold onto their jobs.

Dialogue changes that. Dialogue is the means by which we surface conflict and have meaningful conversations in our personal relationships and our organizations. Such conversations make our relationships and organizations healthier and more effective.

It is my intent to give you the awareness and skills necessary to face and handle the difficult conversations of your life. And as you learn and apply these skills, you’ll still have differences of opinions and disagreements, but you’ll be able to navigate them with greater confidence and skill.

A little about me

My name is Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. I’m a psychologist, author, executive coach and business consultant with many years of helping people work through conflict both in their personal lives and on the job. I’ve helped hundreds of couples, business partners, executives, department managers and employees work through difficult conflicts to create healthy and harmonious relationships. And I’ve taught many of these methods to other trainers and consultants throughout the world.

Who this course is for:
  • Individuals who want to improve their ability to handle conflict in their personal lives
  • Employees who are experiencing conflict on the job
  • Leaders who want to create a work climate that encourages open dialogue and conflict resolution
Course content
Expand all 51 lectures 04:20:47
+ Understanding Conflict
7 lectures 33:49

Students will understand a definition and the nature of conflict management as well as receive an overview of what they will get out of the course.

Preview 06:08

I want you to get the most possible value from this course. In this lecture, I share a number of tips to accomplish that end.

Tips to Get the Most from the Course

Students will be able to describe the differences between disagreements and unhealthy conflict. They will appreciate the consequences of win/lose and lose/lose interactions and commit to keeping conversations win/win.

Disagreements vs. Unhealthy Conflict

Students will identify three real conflicts they are facing and which they'd like to work on during the course.

Exercise: Identifying Three Conflicts

Mike Miller blew a terrific career opportunity because of his lack of understanding dialogue and conflict resolution skills.

Preview 04:53

Students will be able to describe the phases through which conflicts escalate from differences of opinion to disintegration of a relationship.

Phases of Escalation

Students will understand the role of trust in preventing conflict. They will learn specific strategies to build a climate of trust so that disagreements don't have to become unhealthy conflict.

Building Trust
Check Your Understanding 1
3 questions
+ Styles of Communication
7 lectures 25:44

Students will learn a two-dimensional model of communication and how these dimensions result in four communication styles. They will learn the characteristics and consequences of the dominating style of communication.

Preview 05:02

Students will understand the accommodating and avoiding styles of communicating and their effect on conflict management.

Four Styles of Communication: Part II

Bob was falling into a familiar pattern of accommodating and feeling like a victim until he recognized what was happening and decided to talk openly.

The Dashed Hope-a Story of Dialogue

Students will identify what they would do in a few different real-life conflict situations as a way to understand the styles of communication and conflict resolution.

What Would You Do?

Please download the resource file.

Exercise: What Would You Do?

Please download the resource file.

Exercise: Identifying Your Communication Style

Students will understand five common patterns of relating to others during conflict. They will also understand when each of three communication styles is most appropriate.

Preview 07:06
Check Your Understanding 2
4 questions
+ From Conflict to Collaboration
6 lectures 30:42

Students will learn the necessity of collaboration and also dialogue as a pathway to collaboration and resolving conflicts so everyone wins.

Dialogue--The Pathway to Collaboration

This lecture presents an example of a supervisor poorly handling some conflict in his workplace.

Adam--the New Supervisor

The student will be able to use this model to describe their reactions and behavioral options during conflict.

Preview 06:48

The student will see an example of a supervisor handle a major conflict appropriately, in a way that brings unity and positive outcomes to his department.

Adam Chooses Collaboration

Here is a story of an executive team, of which I was a member, that failed to engage in honest dialogue around their business strategy, with dire consequences.

The Failed Strategy

Please download the resource file.

Exercise: Assessing My Readiness for Dialogue
Check Your Understanding 3
4 questions
+ Me First--Getting Ready for Dialogue
8 lectures 50:13

You will correct misperceptions that occur during conflict which keep you from arriving at mutual understanding and win/win outcomes. 

Preview 06:46

You'll take responsibility for your contribution and reactions during conflict.

Adopting a Mindset to Resolve Conflict: Taking Responsibility

This is a story about how my view of a situation changed once I heard the full story of the man with whom I was in conflict.


You will understand how to manage and express your emotions during conflict. You'll know how to deal with the emotions of the other party. 

Adopting a Mindset to Resolve Conflict: Dealing with Feelings

You will know how to stay focused on positive outcomes so you can keep dialogue moving forward to a productive outcome.

Adopting a Mindset to Resolve Conflict: Committing to Outcomes

You will learn when you should talk about conflict and when it might be better to leave it alone because it is unlikely you'll get a good outcome.

Should I Initiate Dialogue?

You will know how to think through the trade-offs necessary to address conflict so you don't get into unproductive and no-win conversations.

Risk-Benefit Analysis

You will hear me talk about a real-life example of resolving a conflict when the stakes were high.

Case Study: A Young Intern
Check Your Understanding 4
4 questions
+ Phases of Conflict Resolution: Preparation and Invitation
8 lectures 31:24

You will know learn the three purposes and four phases of dialogue.

Overview of the Steps of Dialogue

Please download the resource file.

The Steps of Dialogue Handout

You will identify and conflict situation and prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to resolve it.

Phase I: Preparation

Please download the resource file.

Exercise: Work Through Your Thoughts and Feelings

Please download the resource file.

Exercise: Evaluating Your Commitment to Collaboration

You will learn a number of strategies to ensure that dialogue remains safe and positive.

Phase II: Invitation

You'll learn a specific skill to safely invite others enter into dialogue and conflict resolution.

Invitation Skill: Leveling

You will be able to use a number of skills to keep your conversation positive and moving forward.

Invitation Skills: Clarifying Intent; Clarifying Concerns; Collaboration
Check Your Understanding 5
4 questions
+ Phases of Conflict Resolution: Exploration and Collaboration
15 lectures 01:28:53

Students will recognize the roll of assumptions in conflict and understand how to use communication to surface assumptions and develop a more accurate understanding of reality.

Preview 09:48

Students will be able to use the skills of inquiry and advocacy to build a pool of shared understanding from which to resolve conflict.

The Skills of Exploration

You will develop greater mastery in using the skills of dialogue. 

The Skills of Exploration Continued

You will hear me walk you through an actual dialogue between my wife and I that illustrates how to build a pool of shared understanding before entering into dialogue.

Case Study: Agreeing on Property

You will be able to negotiate a set of ground rules to guide dialogue and keep it on track.

The Role of Ground Rules

You will develop greater ability to use inquiry by learning to use four specific inquiry skills.

A Deeper Look at Inquiry

This is a personal example in which I was lecturing to my son and then realized I needed to listen to him instead. As I did so, my understanding of the situation changed dramatically and I could then support him. It illustrates how important it is to use the inquiry and listening skills.

The Sleepover: An Example of Listening

You will come away knowing how to use the deeper skills in advocacy.

A Deeper Look at Advocacy

You will know how to use the Immediacy skill when someone is dominating the conversation or not willing to listen to your point of view.

The Immediacy Skill: Strengthening Your Advocacy

A student will be able to move beyond a pool of shared understanding to resolving conflict by agreeing upon a solution or all actions each party will take.


You'll develop greater mastery of all the skills of collaboration, including how to identify the needs of each party, brainstorm possible solutions and agree upon final actions.

Collaboration Continued

You will be able to use the collaboration skill to arrive at solutions and win/win outcomes when facing conflict.

Collaboration: Arriving at Win/Win Agreements

Here is an example in which a husband and wife use all four of the phases of conflict resolution to work through a disagreement to a satisfying solution. It will help you see how the phases and steps fit together.

Putting it All Together

You'll see all of the program come together in a memorable summary.

Check Your Understanding 6
4 questions
Bonus Content