Good conflict?

Coaching can be challenging.

A good coach will ask you questions you don’t want to answer, you may not immediately know the answer to because you have put up barriers or because they make you reflect and this requires time and energy. Instinctively we seek people who are similar to ourselves, mainly because of our need to belong to a group, to be understood but also because this requires less energy.

To seek people who challenge us and lead us down the path towards conflict, inner or very much on the surface, is not appealing. But it is needed to bring about change.

Margaret Heffernan says in a TED talk (, June 2012) that we need to search for:

thinking partners who are not echo chambers

which is a brilliant analogy for why coaching sometimes brings about good conflict. So although the description seems to be a dichotomy, it can be necessary for getting the best out of people and bring about change.