Negotiating - Scenario - resolving conflict: page 1 of 1

Guide: Now let's see what happens in practice when Harry thinks about his negotiation technique and uses an alternative response as he talks to Sonia.

Harry: Did writing up the evaluations after each lesson help?

Sonia: I've got a confession to make here. I haven't been doing them.

Harry: Why not? I thought we'd agreed on this.

Sonia: We did, but I just don't see the point.

Harry: Why do you think that?

Sonia: Well, I still evaluate, but in my head. I just don't write it down. I teach over 15 lessons a week and it's very time consuming. Perhaps I could do a reflective summary of all the lessons at the end of the week?

Guide: Notice how Sonia is able to say exactly why she is against doing the evaluations and feels confident enough to suggest an alternative. This is a good starting point for negotiation and compromise.

Harry: I can't really compromise on this one Sonia. I'd be failing you as a mentor if I did, and failing the organisation too. You're just going to have to do it.

Sonia: Well that's really disappointing, because I can't. I just don't have the time.

Harry: Oh dear. You can't see a way to do it at the moment?

Sonia: Well, no not really, although I could do it in note form, then write it up at the end of each week. That would keep it fresh in my mind for next week.

Harry: That seems like a good idea. Notes on the evaluation of each lesson would be fine. Do you think that's the best way to proceed?

Guide: Harry's willingness to compromise in this case means that he is able to maintain a critical dialogue with Sonia and rapidly moves towards a win-win situation. Remember how he responded last time? Could his new approach to negotiating help that situation?

Harry: This isn't getting us very far is it? Don't you see that I'm right on this one? There's no other way around it I'm afraid.

Sonia: It's impossible!

Harry: What would it take to make it possible?

Sonia: Well, I haven't really thought beyond not doing it. I think if I could find more time in the day or if my free periods weren't taken up with learner's personal problems that might help.

Harry: OK. Well, let's both give some thought as to how we might release some of your time, and discuss it at our next meeting.

Guide: By using this alternative questioning approach Harry is able to instigate critical reflection by the mentee. This means they collaborate to reach a solution. Harry's negotiation skills have enabled them to move towards a win-win situation.

Select the knowledge link to find out more about negotiation skills.

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