Dealing with High Conflict Personalities: Harnessing the Power of Mediation and Conflict Coaching for Effective Management

Melanie Roberts
June 15, 2023

In a recent conversation with Jodie Fox, I delved into the complex world of dealing with High Conflict Personalities (HCPs) in the workplace. This topic obviously struck a chord, generating more questions than we could address in the given time. For those who missed it, you can access the original conversation in the webinar here.

In this blog post, we will explore strategies for effectively managing High Conflict Personalities at work, with a particular focus on the importance of trained and experienced mediators and the transformative benefits of conflict coaching.

Encountering difficult individuals in the workplace is an ongoing challenge faced by many managers and professionals. The disruptive behaviour of High Conflict Personalities can have a profound impact on team dynamics and the overall work environment. By understanding the advantages of mediation and incorporating it into your management approach, along with the added support of conflict coaching, you can foster a more harmonious workplace for all.

Recognizing High Conflict Personalities:

As a manager, it is essential to identify the tell-tale signs of high conflict personalities. These individuals often exhibit patterns of behaviour such as aggressive blame-shifting, making unreasonable demands, reacting defensively to feedback, and displaying a lack of self-awareness regarding their contribution to problems. Recognizing these traits allows you to proactively address their behaviour and mitigate potential conflicts.

Utilising Mediation to Manage High Conflict Personalities

Engage a Trained Mediator:

Engaging the services of a professional mediator experienced in workplace conflicts involving high conflict personalities is paramount. Placing such matters in the hands of an experienced mediator is crucial. These mediators create a neutral and secure environment for productive discussions, enabling all parties to express their concerns and perspectives. High conflict personalities have difficulty with self-awareness and can become overly defensive when revisiting past events.  An experienced mediator will assist them to engage and focus more on thoughts than feelings, and on the future rather than the past, in order to assist a productive discussion. Their expertise in conflict resolution techniques and impartiality can guide individuals toward mutually beneficial resolutions, fostering a healthier work environment.

Facilitate Constructive Communication:

Mediation provides a structured framework for open dialogue, encouraging individuals to communicate their thoughts, emotions, and concerns respectfully. The mediator plays a vital role in fostering a deeper understanding of each other’s viewpoints, promoting empathy and collaboration within the work environment.

Encourage Agreement and Resolution:

Mediation facilitates a collaborative problem-solving approach, assisting parties in finding common ground and developing mutually acceptable solutions. The mediator guides the discussion, encouraging the exploration of creative options and compromises that meet everyone’s needs. This promotes sustainable resolutions and reduces the likelihood of recurring conflicts.

Support Continued Development:

Mediation is not a one-time solution but rather a catalyst for ongoing growth and development. Encourage individuals to apply the insights gained from mediation to their daily interactions. This empowers high conflict personalities to develop stronger communication and conflict management skills, fostering a more positive and productive work environment.

The Benefits of Conflict Coaching:

In addition to mediation, conflict coaching plays a crucial role in managing high conflict personalities. Conflict coaching is a process that provides individuals with personalized support and guidance to develop better communication and conflict management skills. Through one-on-one coaching sessions, individuals can gain insights into their own behaviour, , and learn strategies to improve their interactions with others. Conflict coaching offers a proactive and individualized approach to address the specific needs of high conflict individuals, promoting personal growth and positive behavioural changes.

The Synergy of Mediation and Conflict Coaching:

Combining mediation with conflict coaching can be a powerful approach in managing high conflict personalities. While mediation focuses on resolving conflicts between parties, conflict coaching provides targeted support to the high conflict individuals themselves. This dual approach addresses the underlying issues contributing to their behaviour, and empowers them to develop better communication and conflict resolution skills. By leveraging both mediation and conflict coaching, HR managers can create a comprehensive strategy to effectively manage high conflict personalities and foster a more harmonious work environment.


Effectively managing high conflict personalities in the workplace requires a thoughtful and multifaceted approach. By utilizing mediation with trained and experienced mediators and incorporating conflict coaching, HR managers can navigate the challenges posed by high conflict personalities with confidence. Engaging professionals who specialize in conflict resolution and personal development empowers individuals to address underlying issues, enhance communication skills, and contribute to a more positive and productive work environment. Embrace the power of mediation and conflict coaching in your management approach, creating a space where individuals can thrive, collaborate, and grow.

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