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Lesson 31: The Conflict Pivot

A Model for Coaching One Person in Conflict: The Conflict Pivot

Tammy Lenski has developed a remarkably simple and intuitive approach to turning around a conflict situation when working with one person. It is a 3-step process explained in her book.

Exploring the story of the conflict (and what we make it mean)

  • What is the conflict about?
    • What do you react to most strongly in the conflict?
    • When you share this conflict with others, what do you focus on most?

Unhooking Yourself

  • What bothers you about that reaction?
    • What ways do you see yourself that the other person may not see you?
    • What “hooks” or “hot buttons” are activated for you in this conflict?

Focus on What YOU Can Do NOW

  • What are you protecting yourself from?
    • What do you want from here moving forward?
    • What will you do to make this possible for yourself? (only what doesn’t require the other person to change)
    • What is hooking you?   

Hooks – Hot Buttons

The way we want people to see us and when they don’t …… The reptile brains takes over!

  • Competence – Capable, intelligent, skilled, having expertise
    • Autonomy – Independent, self-reliant, boundaries are respected
    • Fellowship – Included, likeable, worthy
    • Status – Having assets like attractive, powerful, reputation, material worth
    • Reliability – Trustworthy, dependable, loyal
    • Integrity – Needing respect for our dignity, honor, virtue, good character
    • I SCARF = Integrity, Status, Competence, Autonomy, Reliability, Fellowship]


You have a disagreement with your sister, brother, teenage child, mother, father, relative in- law, etc. The other person is unwilling to do anything to help the situation. Every time the two of you are together, your hot buttons are pushed and you can barely be civil or engaged.

Using the Conflict Pivot:

Explore the nature of the conflict, walk down the path to explore what happens every time this comes up. Identify what has got you hooked, identify what you are protecting yourself from, and focus forward and identify how you want your experience to be. Identify what the next step is that you can take to move in the direction of what you want.

From the book, The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict Into. Peace of Mind, Tammy Lenski, 2014.

©Certified Divorce Coach Program-Divorce Coaching Inc. 


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