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Coaching Employees Through Conflict

Cynthia AveryCynthia Avery joined TSA in 2002 as a Lead Transportation Security Officer at Washington’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA-TAC). Since 2005, Avery has been an instrumental part of TSA’s Conflict Management Coaching (CMC) program. TSA’s CMC program has helped thousands of employees reach their goal of resolving or managing a particular workplace issue, improve upon existing conflict management skills, or prepare for a difficult conversation. It is one of many services offered through TSA’s Office of Human Capital/ National Resolution Center.

A seasoned Conflict Management Coach, Avery is also part of a special team of coaches who provide training, guidance, and mentoring for the entire network of more than 80 coaches at airports across the country.  She credits TSA’s CMC program for giving her the confidence to effectively embrace conflict and support employees across the nation through difficult situations.

“What I Do Matters because the ability to effectively manage conflict is an important factor in ensuring every employee is free from distraction and can focus on achieving TSA’s mission of world class security. Conflict is normal and inevitable in the workplace and I enjoy being a resource for my colleagues to help them through challenging issues, prepare for difficult conversations, and build skills to manage and prevent future conflict -- so they can concentrate on the critical work of keeping the traveling public safe.

What I enjoy most about my role as a coach is helping people reach their goals and being part of a program where an employee can, in confidence, talk about workplace conflict. The transformation of an individual during a coaching session is very powerful.  In many cases, the person being coached comes into the session feeling like they are out of options. Helping people discover a fresh perspective and develop a plan to effectively approach the issue that brought them in to see me is very powerful. Simply put, I love helping people who want to be coached.

Explaining what CMC is and is not can be challenging. I invest time in talking to my colleagues about the “nuts and bolts” of conflict management coaching and making sure people have the facts about coaching.  A coaching session is much like sitting down with someone you can trust to talk about a workplace situation. In this case, the “coach” is highly trained and committed to helping you come away with valuable insights. My recommendation to anyone who is interested in coaching or has questions about it is to just try it.

From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs

Latest revision: 13 December 2013