As a facilitator, I am constantly observing the interactions between individuals, gauging whether each individual’s expressions are communicating interest, engagement, frustration, joy, fear, etc. As an observer, when I see individuals unable to access understanding, harmony, or compassion, I desire to step in and offer my support. I would guess that many parents, teachers, and mentors have shared this desire.
In moments such as this, I have experienced the following:
In serving as a facilitator, when I step into what I perceive is a conflict happening between individuals, and when I ask the question, ‘who is getting their needs met within this interaction?’ individuals are often able to answer (either verbally or nonverbally).
If when I ask this, there is no individual within the interaction getting their needs met (which in my experience is typically the case during moments of conflict), people usually express a willingness to engage a conversation in conflict resolution.
If there is someone whose needs are being met, and if I ask that person if they are willing to hear about the experience and unmet needs of others within the interaction, and if that person says ‘no’, I can ask the other individuals outside of that person if they are willing to continue trying to interact with that person in this moment. When I ask these questions, and when individuals are able to reflect on them, possible courses of action or opportunities for reconciliation (either independently or collaboratively) seem to become possible within the minds of those experiencing the conflict.
– Zach Morris