FACILITATION & MEDIATION

We can assist with ideation and innovation, facilitate important or difficult conversations, or mediate specific disputes. 

WE OFFER THREE TYPES OF FACILITATION:

Active Facilitation

Facilitation is a less formal process than mediation, and “active facilitation” is the most commonly used type of facilitation.  As active facilitators, we establish the ground rules and structure of the conversation, and we control the flow of the conversation.  We ask questions that help the parties articulate their positions, concerns, and desired outcomes, and we pose questions that help advance the conversation.  We also maintain the civility and professionalism of the conversation.  When working as active facilitators, we need not be subject matter experts.  Our role is to be process and communication experts and to enforce the ground rules.  Most often, we help forge the consensus necessary for the parties (or the organization) to move forward in a specified direction…together.

 

Developmental Facilitation

In developmental facilitation, we are not as active as we are in active facilitation.  While we somewhat passively seek to help the parties communicate and work through problems and solutions, we are ultimately seeking to help teams learn how to successfully facilitate their own their own discussions and processes going forward. We’re acting as coaches as much as we’re acting as facilitators.

Ideative Facilitation (Substantive or Administrative)

In substantive ideative facilitation, we not only administer the process of group ideation, but we actively participate in the substantive generation and consideration of ideas.  In administrative ideative facilitation, we simply administer the process of group ideation.

WE OFFER THREE TYPES OF MEDIATION:

Faciliative Mediation

In faciliative mediation, our role is to assist the parties in communicating with each other.  We establish the ground rules and the structure of the conversation; we ask questions that help the parties articulate their positions, concerns, and desired outcomes; and we maintain the civility and professionalism of the conversation.  When using a faciliatative approach to resolving a dispute, we need not be subject matter experts.  Our role is to be process and communication experts and to “control” the flow of the conversation and enforce the ground rules.

 

Evaluative Mediation

In evaluative mediation, the approach most often used in attempting to resolve legal disputes, we bring both subject matter expertise and process-related expertise.  Here, our goal is a formal settlement between the parties.  In evaluative mediation, our role is to point out the substantive shortcomings in each party’s position, to express opinions that help each party understand the risks of not settling, and to craft and recommend possible solutions to the dispute.

 

Transformative Mediation

Transformative mediation is a relatively new approach to mediation, having become popular following the 1994 publication of The Promise of Mediation by Baruch Bush and Joe Folger.  Transformative mediation is meant to be a restorative process that seeks to give the parties a sense of both empowerment and recognition.  In this case, “empowerment” means restoring each party’s sense of confidence, self-determination, and control; and “recognition” means showing empathy and understanding towards each party and his/her/their unique circumstances.  The primary goal in transformative mediation is not to resolve the dispute, but rather it is to restore and transform the parties in ways that empower them to either resolve the dispute themselves, or at least to peacefully and collaboratively manage it going forward.  That being said, if a resolution of the dispute is possible, we will certainly attempt to help the parties reach it during the mediation process.

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

“We hired Stephen Blair Venable to help us navigate some complex organizational growing pains and structural changes. He skillfully facilitated three all-staff meetings to help us forge consensus around some very important issues.  Stephen brought tremendous value to the process, and we would both hire him again and recommend him to others.  I should also say that he is a joy to work with!”

Amy Elverum

Co-Director, Upper Mississippi Academy

Saint Paul, Minnesota

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