Facilitating Relationships

“Conflict in relationships is natural, inevitable, necessary and normal and that the problem is not the existence of conflict but how we handle it” --- Bernard Mayer, 2000, The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution

Why are you reading this?

Probably because you are in or working with a relationship that is somehow failing and you want it to get better. Or end it permanently.

It could be a relationship with a colleague, a supplier or client, someone within your family, your business, a neighbour or a community.

Someone may have suggested that mediation or a facilitated discussion might help, so the obvious questions are what is it and how?

At its simplest mediation is a difficult conversation that is facilitated or "made easier" by an independent, trained, impartial mediator or facilitator. They don't judge you, the issues you have or the solutions they help you develop. In the majority of cases you will learn from the past and agree a new future where the attitudes and behaviours no longer cause mistrust and suspicion, but begin to rebuild respect and trust.

The facilitators will help you to do:

a lot of thinking-about the conflict, what behaviours started it, what the impacts were, what happened to communication, whether there is any respect left (there's unlikely to be any trust) and what sort of future relationship you would like to develop.

a lot of listening -to each other's story, respectfully accepting different perspectives even if not agreeing with them, so both of you are heard and understanding can be built.

a lot of problem solving- It is vital to remember a mediated discussion is not about blame. The idea is to identify problems and agree how to stop them happening again, not have a "you did so and so", "No I didn't", "Yes you did" shouting match.

a lot of creating - the opportunity to build a new relationship by creating new ways of working or behaving, not being stuck in repeating old patterns that created the problems in the first place.

The facilitator helps everyone to remain positive and future focussed, rather than dwelling too much on the past. This can be difficult to begin with, these discussions are nearly always hard work, but if everyone wants a better relationship, with a little help, in the vast majority of cases you will develop one.

Clearly for this discussion to work it requires a positive form of communication.


Communication in Relationships

We all communicate but few of us are taught how to do it effectively, without causing misunderstandings or offence, either in the words we use or in the way we say them.

What makes communication even more difficult is if those involved are in disagreement or conflict, when communication styles create barriers, we don’t hear what’s being said and so the potential for misunderstanding is magnified.

Facilitators are taught communication skills to allow them to help those doing the negotiation to stay focused on the future, not get stuck in a vicious cycle of the past.

To find out more about how we could help facilitate your difficult situation, use the link to Resources where you’ll find downloads with more detail, or to discuss how we could help in your specific circumstances, use the Contact Us section at the bottom of the page or call Jeremy on 0773388 2543.

Conflict can damage anyone's self-confidence. A well thought through, targeted coaching programme can help to rebuild the individual into a fully contributing member of the team.

By asking questions and providing examples to prompt wider thinking, a coach can develop the individual's thought processes and ways of analysing and approaching problems, which they can use in many different situations.


The partnership between the individual and their coach will be a thought-provoking, creative process that inspires the individual to maximize their professional potential. They will learn new ways of thinking in a secure, supportive environment, where they have the time to discuss and internalise new approaches, put them into practice and give feedback on the results.


Coaching is like any other form of skill transfer – it must be directed towards specific ends and those ends must be measurable so that the value of the coaching can be assessed.


We will develop a fully costed proposal with you to ensure that the objectives are achievable and beneficial to the individual and the organisation, with milestones to ensure value is measured before each stage of the programme. Use the contact details below to start the discussion about how this confidence building may help.

What happens at a workplace mediation

A short introduction to how a mediator might facilitate a difficult conversation with someone where your relationship is not what is was..

View More Videos

Our Resources