Conflict Management Practices

Otherwise know as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) usually describes dispute resolution where an independent person (an ADR practitioner, such as a mediator) helps people in dispute to try to sort out the issues between them. ADR can help people to resolve a dispute before it becomes so big that a court or tribunal becomes involved. ADR can be flexible and can be used for almost any kind of dispute; even those that would never go to a court or tribunal.

Conflict Coaching encourages and assists people to deeply reflect on their conflict interactions. It also supports people to develop the capacity to engage in reflective practice in their future conflict interactions, for the purpose of reflective learning and the development of artistry.

Conflict Coaching supports people to constructively engage with, rather than avoid, conflict. Conflict Coaching builds the client’s capacity to engage in and manage their conflict at the level of artistry. Conflict Coaching is a process that enables people to learn from their own experiences.

Negotiation you will have used it to resolve a disagreement. The same process works for sorting out a dispute. Negotiation can be an effective process to resolve a dispute where you and the people involved:

  • listen to and are heard by each other
  • work out what the disputed issues are
  • work out what everyone agrees on
  • work out what is important to each person
  • aim to reach a workable agreement
  • develop options to resolve each issue
  • consider what you can do next if you cannot reach an agreement through the negotiation.

In a negotiation, you and the other people involved in the dispute can agree to:

  • speak for yourselves or be assisted by people, such as your lawyer or another professional
  • only make binding decisions at the end of the negotiation
  • what will be talked about during the negotiation, including what solutions are discussed
  • how the negotiation process will work and how an outcome will be reached
  • whether or not the negotiation will be confidential.

Mediation is a process where the people involved, with the assistance of a mediator:

  • listen to and are heard by each other
  • identify the disputed issues
  • identify the needs, goals, wants and desires that underlie disputed issues
  • develop options to sort out each issue
  • develop options to satisfy needs, goals, wants and desires
  • consider other processes to resolve the dispute
  • aim to reach an agreement, if an agreement is appropriate

The role of the mediator is to assist you and the other participants to have a respectful, even handed discussion and decision making process. Your role is to listen to the other points of view, contribute to the discussion and make decisions. Mediation may be voluntary, court ordered, or required as part of a contract.

A facilitator plans, guides and manages a group event to meet its goals. To facilitate effectively, you must be objective and focus on the “group process.” That is, the ways that groups work together to perform tasks, make decisions and solve problems

Conciliation is a process where the participants, with the help of an independent person as conciliator:

  • listen to and are heard by each other
  • work out what the disputed issues are
  • work out what everyone agrees on
  • identify areas of common ground
  • aim to reach a workable agreement
  • develop options to resolve each issue
  • receive expert advice and legal information (in some circumstances).

Conciliation can be similar to mediation, although the conciliator’s role may be more directive and advisory. The way conciliation works can vary, so if you use conciliation it is important to check what type of conciliation process will be followed.

Conferencing involves a formally structured conversation between people who are affected by conflict in a community. That conflict may be:

  • the result of some harmful act about which there is no dispute , and/or
  • associated with many unresolved disputes between individuals, and/or groups in the community.

Whether there is no dispute, or there are many disputes, the Conferencing format enables everyone affected to consider:

  • what happened,
  • how each person has been affected, and
  • what might be done to improve the situation.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a special type of mediation for helping separating families to come to their own agreements. During FDR families will discuss the issues in dispute and consider different options, while being encouraged to focus on the needs of their children. FDR uses a neutral and accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner.

The main objective of FDR is to assist participants to make a parenting plan setting out the agreed future parenting arrangements. 

The Collaborative Law process is at the cutting edge of dispute resolution practice today, with an emphasis on problem solving, negotiation and co-operation to settle conflict. The non-confrontational nature of Collaborative Practice enables Lawyers working with other professionals and their clients to respectfully resolve disputes and, ultimately, stay out of Court.

Arbitration is a process where you and the other participants present your points of view and facts to an independent person (the arbitrator). The arbitrator then makes a decision based on this information.

Sometimes your professional advisors, such as a lawyer or accountant, will suggest that arbitration would suit your dispute. Arbitration can be a much more formal and structured process than mediation or conciliation. It can seem very similar to a short form of court or tribunal hearing. Unlike other forms of ADR, in arbitration:

  • there is a much greater need for you and the other participants to produce evidence (facts)
  • there may be one arbitrator or a group of arbitrators to hear your dispute
  • the dispute may be in a specialist area and the arbitrator may have worked in that area
  • usually you and the other participants must agree before the process that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding and enforceable.


NADRAC, (2012) Your Guide to Dispute Resolution, Commonwealth of Australia

Conflict Coaching International. (2023). CCI Academy.

Mind Tools Content Team. (2021). MindTools | Home.

Family Relationships Online. (n.d.). Family mediation and dispute resolution | Family Relationships Online.

The Happy Family Lawyer. (n.d.). The Happy Family Lawyer. The Happy Family Lawyer. Retrieved July 12, 2023, from