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 https://ica-associates.ca/news/) 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.

OPENING:

  • 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.

OBJECTIVE LEVEL QUESTIONS:
(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.

REFLECTIVE LEVEL QUESTIONS:
(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?

INTERPRETIVE LEVEL QUESTIONS:
(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?

DECISIONAL LEVEL QUESTIONS:
(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?

CLOSING:
Thank you very much for your thoughtful participation.

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