(540) 809-8683 [email protected]

Conflict coaching

Managing emotions, communications, negotiations, finances and laws

The main areas of divorce expertise where expertise can help, both before and after suit is filed, include emotions, communications, negotiations, finances and laws. As the mediator, a neutral party, Blanton will share with both of you his expertise in all those areas.

About Conflict CoachingThe Steps of Coaching

How Conflict Coaching Can Help

Even if your spouse won’t agree to use him as your mediator and insists on involving another mediator or “letting the lawyers handle it,” Blanton can act as your personal “conflict coach” behind the scenes, in all those areas of expertise, coaching you

  • to do more of the administrative and paralegal work yourself such as gathering and analyzing financial and other data (evidence)
  • to keep you focused and efficient
  • to help you keep your litigator focused and efficient, saving you time and money

Blanton’s mediator rate is $295/hr; his conflict coach rate is $195/hr.

The Steps of Conflict Coaching

Setting Goals, Developing & Exploring Options & Making Decisions

Blanton Massey typically follows these 11 steps in coaching divorce clients in communication and negotiation techniques and in problem-solving and decision-making before and even after suit is filed.

(Any one or more stages might repeat or cycle depending on issues and complexity)

  1. SET GOALS: Clarify your personal goals consistent with your values: Review where you have been (life experiences) & where you are going in life (for yourself & for your children, if any). Subsequent stages, listed below, will help you focus on whether your goals are realistic.
    1. Outline the pertinent facts in chronological order
    2. Gather the financial documents/records
      1. list your income and expenses: prepare your budget–your monthly living expenses (average annual, quarterly & weekly expenses on a monthly basis)
      2. List you assets and liabilities
      3. List what needs to be accomplished, what steps you need to take, to achieve your goals.
  3. LIST ISSUES: Determine the issues that need to be resolved, in mediation and otherwise, in order to achieve your goals. (They should be consistent with what your value in life & your vision for the future.)
    1. Brainstorm—list & observe all the possibilities, options or choices involved in each issue.
    2. Sustain a free flow of feelings and thoughts–negative as well as positive–about each of the possible choices. Do not reject any of them at this stage. Are emotions in the way? Can you talk about them?
    1. Observe thoughts and feelings about each of the options and apply those thoughts and feelings in open discussion with your spouse in a joint mediation session
    2. Relate options & choices to established priorities (stay focused on realistic goals)
    3. Do reality checking to narrow the list:
      1. List impediments & start discarding unrealistic & unfavorable options/choices
      2. Prioritize the better options/choices. (Review the reasons why they are better.)
      3. Seek legal advice: review “Divorce Client’s Bill of Rights” & get a “Cost-Benefit Analysis.”
      4. Develop your BATNA & WATNA (Best/Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement).
  6. INVEST: Pick your best option and begin to invest in that choice with committed feelings, thoughts, time and energy. (In negotiations, notice whether the other party seems to be at the same stage of decision-making.)
  7. DESIGNATE: Tentatively disclose your best (or chosen) option and complete the elimination of the options not chosen. In negotiations, the other party should be giving clear indication (openly) of being at this same stage.
  8. DECLARE YOUR CHOICE: Register your decision as a tentative commitment, based on favorable, disclosed gestures & comments by the other party, their intentions, and concurrences and, if necessary, concessions.
  9. COMMIT: based on compatible commitments from the other party.
    1. list the points of agreement
    2. Determine the necessary details and clarify the language:
        1. ALLOCATION of assets (who gets what?)
        2. ACTION STEPS to be taken: What is to be done, by whom, how & when
      2. MONITORING: How will you know each of the terms of the agreement is being carried out? How can the action be monitored?
      3. CONSEQUENCES: Choose appropriate consequences for each and every type of failure/breach, such as failure to pay, or late payment.
    3. Draft & sign the settlement agreement.
  11. TAKE ACTION: Implement the terms, monitor compliance, and impose consequences for breach.

Additional Resources

Stephen Covey in his national bestseller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” stressed the importance of having a proactive focus. He says to concentrate your efforts on people and situations where you have influence, rather than waste your time on matters of concern over which you have no influence.

Cinnie Noble has written a book about her Cinergy™ Conflict Coaching Model, the steps of which are:

  1. Clarify the Goal
  2. Inquire About the Situation
  3. Name the Elements
  4. Explore Choices
  5. Reconstruct the Situation
  6. Ground the Challenges
  7. Yes, the Commitment

If you will not be able to attend mediation, buy Cinnie’s book to explore the option of having a conflict coach help you improve your interaction with the other party, even if you are in litigation. Unlike your lawyer, you have no ethical constraints on your attempts to engage in principled negotiations directly with your spouse.

To get a head start before consulting Blanton, consider reading, as appropriate to your situation:

  • Getting to Yes by Fisher & Ury
  • Getting Past No by Ury
  • Conflict Management Coaching: The Cinergy Model by Cinnie Noble
  • Collaborative Divorce by Tesler & Thompson
  • The Divorce Dance by Stan Corey
  • Navigating Emotional Currents in Collaborative Divorce by Scharff & Herrick
  • The High-Conflict Custody Battle by Baker, Bone & Ludmer
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
  • Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
  • Disarming the Narcissist 2d Ed. by Wendy T. Behary
  • Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler
  • Leadership & Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
  • Two Homes ONE CHILDHOOD by Robert E. Emery
  • The Mindful Way through Anxiety by Orsillo & Roemer
  • The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson

These are just a few of the many books Blanton has read, recommends and from which he has gleaned insight which he’s prepared to share with you. View additional book recommendations by topic.