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Are You a Pot-Stirrer?

Cinergy Coaching by Cinnie Noble

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog is not about cooking, though the title and the metaphor seems to conjure up the picture of soups and stews simmering on top of a stove. When it comes to conflict the expression – stirring the pot – is defined by one source as “to cause unrest or dissent”. It is an idiomatic way to explore what some of us do when we disagree with a decision, or it may be what we do in reaction to something another person does or says that we do not like, or it may be when we raise issues on purpose to encourage debate or to cause unrest for some reason.
Taking the image a little further as it applies to interpersonal conflict, consider that the vegetables or meat in the pot represent various aspects of conflict-related matters floating around. These may be the issues, facts, needs, values, hopes, and expectations we bring to the pot. Some pieces fall to the bottom and may stick. Others float to the top. Other pieces float around in the juices. Some add flavour. Some get overdone. You get the picture.

If you are tempted to stir the pot about an interaction, the following questions may help digest what is in the pot.
How do you explain what the pot represents in the interaction you have in mind?
What ingredients are ones you put in the pot that make up the conflict? What ingredients has the other person put in?
What is the most tasty of your ingredients in the pot? What may the other person say are her or his most tasty ingredients?
What is the least tasty of your ingredients? What may the other person answer about her or his ingredients that are least tasty?
What in the pot could be easily removed without an impact on the other ingredients? What needs to be added?
What part or parts of all the other ingredients belong in the pot? Why is that?
What specifically do you want to stir up? Why is that?
What do you want to have happen by stirring the pot?
What would it be like if that did not happen (your answer to the previous question)? What would things be like if it did happen?
What are you thinking now about stirring the pot?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?


Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE >

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