Conflict Resolution

Image of billowing cloud of smoke from the side of a grassy mountain with a blue sky visible in the background
Don’t like the thought of an explosion on the horizon? Engage in a clearing process with skilled facilitators

If you have unrest, your group can often benefit from a clearing session with a skilled facilitator to work through difficulties and allow them to move on. It’s a simple yet powerful approach to conflict resolution.

Addressing conflict can be scary and challenging – and it’s often helpful to have an outside facilitator to guide the group through it. At the Groupwork Institute, our facilitators have years of experience in recognising and working through tension or conflict, from subtle powerplays to outright challenges.

Our expertise enables us to create safe spaces where people can hear and be heard across strong differences, building solutions together.

Why work with us?

We created Groupwork Institute because we believe in the transformational capacity of people working well together in groups. Back in 1984, we saw the need for people to learn the skills of great facilitation as well as having the opportunity to engage a good facilitator to assist groups in achieving their goals.

Our facilitators have had extensive experience and training working with groups and individuals in leadership and working well with people. A key point of difference is our approach to self-awareness, compassion and Emotional Resilience. Our practical skills and values-based approach have prepared us well for this work.

Our conflict resolution process

Here’s how our conflict resolution model works. This is a speciality of ours, and it’s been thoroughly road-tested over more than three decades. We’ve helped many groups reach a much better place together.

1. We ask participants to give the process a go

This includes:

  • Talking about their own experiences, feelings and perspectives
  • Coming in good faith to try and reach a mutually agreeable outcome
  • Only talking about matters that are relevant to the purpose of this particular session

2. Create agreements and establish a safe space

At the beginning of the session, the group works on a set of agreements that will guide their behaviour throughout the process.

The facilitator must set up a safe space for people to talk about their feelings and experiences. Without safety, you can’t have genuine participation.

3. The group listens to one person contributing their experience and feelings

They do this without being interrupted or corrected. It’s really important that people feel genuinely heard. Not agreed with – just well-heard.

4. These views are then summarised and reflected back by the participants present.

This is where good facilitation is particularly important. Rather than adding in new information or perspectives, group members need to simply reflect back what they heard the contributor express. They don’t need to agree, but they need to show that they understand the feelings and experiences that have been expressed.

5. The process is repeated until everyone feels heard.

The facilitator ensures that each person who wants to contribute their experience has the opportunity to share their perspective with the group.

6. We look at other factors that may have contributed

Often there are bigger picture or environmental factors that contribute to the conflict. It’s important to bring these into the middle too.

7. Next steps

After everyone feels heard, the group decides together what, if any, sticking points remain, and what remedies might be used to overcome them. These might include

  • further agreements;
  • apologies; or
  • adjustments to current practices.

8. Set a time to review what’s been agreed on

This is a vital step that many people don’t realise is needed. Our facilitators make sure that everyone agrees to when you’ll look at what steps have been taken and how effective they’ve been.

Outcomes of a clearing process

This is a remarkably simple yet powerful process. It allows open and honest communication and the safe expression of often pent-up feelings. Equally importantly, it allows others to reflect on how their behaviour may have contributed to situations or events that gave rise to those feelings.

Please contact us if you’d like our facilitators to help you move on from that view

Learn more

What’s special about Groupwork

What facilitators do and how their skills can help you achieve your purpose

For training in facilitation:

Getting Our Act Together: How to Harness the Power of groups Book information and reviews

Hot Spots and Tricky Bits – Facilitation training DVD information

We specialise in this work!  We are at your service.