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Paying Forward Conflict Lessons

Management Blog
by Cinnie Noble

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular a couple of years ago. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted November 22, 2016):

One day the man said to his long-time mentor, “Thank you for listening to me and my side of our dispute and for disagreeing with me in the gracious way you did. I am humbled”.

“You have shared your truth and I needed to know that, too”, the mentor replied.

The man went on and extended an apology saying, “I also appreciate you let me know how hurtful my perspective was for you and for some things I said – and I am sorry for that”.

“And I appreciate that you have now learned to acknowledge that it’s okay to have different views on matters that are important to each of us”, the mentor responded.

The man hugged his mentor and said, “Yes, I have learned so much from you about disputing and I will now pay that forward by remaining calm and respectful with others, and by listening as carefully and thoughtfully as you. But, I do have a final question. How did you remain so calm and respectful when I was being hurtful? You didn’t get angry at me”. The mentor answered, “I said to myself, at these times, that you must have deep pain in your heart to want to hurt someone who cares about you.  I felt sadness for you – not anger towards you”.

  • What is the moral of this parable for you?
  • What emotions, if any, did the story raise in you?
  • What didn’t resonate for you in this parable, if anything. Why was that do you think?
  • In the end, what lessons did the man learn from his mentor?
  • Which lesson or lessons might you want to also learn about conflict that this story raises for you?
  • What characteristics of the mentor do you most want to emulate? What characteristics of the man do you most want to emulate?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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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