This focused conversation for resolving a dispute is not intended to be used “as is”.  It is a template to allow you to create your own questions, using the flow.  However, one of our colleagues, faced with a client’s long-standing dispute and no time to prepare, used it right from the page and his client came up with a solution in a very short time!
Tweak or add questions, and when facilitating, leave plenty of time for exploration of answers at each level.  The Working Assumptions (see recent article at may be very helpful to set a respectful context.

Rational Aim:
The participants will have created a solu­tion to their conflict.
Experiential Aim:
The participants will experience that the problem is resolved, and be committed to carrying out the solution.


  • We are meeting today to find a solution to this problem.
  • We are going to work together respectfully to devise a solution we can all live with.

(Getting the facts)

  • What are the facts about this sit­uation?
  • Let’s get data from as many angles as possible, especially from the key people involved.

(Personal reactions and associations)

  • Which part of this situation makes you the most upset?
  • Which part of this bothers you the least?
  • What past experi­ences are brought to mind?

(Exploring meaning: causes, significance, implications)

  • What are possible causes of this situa­tion?
  • What are the impli­cations of this situa­tion for each person involved?
  • What are the larger implications that this situation might have?
  • What are some pos­sible solutions we might explore? •What are the posi­tive and negative implications (pros and cons) of each of these solutions?
  • What values do we need to hold in a solution to this situ­ation?

(Future resolves)

  • How might we weave these togeth­er to form a solu­tion we can all move forward with?
  • Someone write down our solution and read it back to us. Is this our decision?
  • How shall we implement this solution?

Thank you very much for your thoughtful participation.

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