Conflict Engagement

From Alternative Dispute Resolution to Conflict Engagement

Changing our Individual and Collective Relationship to Conflict

Center offerings in service of building conflict engagement capacity are built on two core beliefs:

    1. Current resources are organized as a dispute resolution system. This assumes that we are dealing with conflicts that are resolvable. Based on the work or Dr. Bernard Mayer, we believe that in the context of the IDEA we are dealing with “enduring conflict” that while potentially unresolvable, must be engaged. We must build individual and collective capacity for effectively being with this “face” of conflict in service of shared learning, innovation, and creativity.
    2. In most cases the resources currently available for engaging conflict reside at a distance from the actual conflict. Resources are often managed at the SEA, or regional level. We believe that if we are to change our individual and collective relationship to conflict, we must develop greater and deep capacity for conflict engagement at the LEA, site, and/or department level.

On the foundation of these two beliefs and our commitment to nurturing collaboration, we have designed a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) for building individual and systemic capacity for Conflict Engagement.

“We have thouroughly enjoyed working with Greg in our state to build capacity for IEP Facilitation. He meets us where we are and inspires the group to integrate our work with current initiatives across the state. His comprehensive approach allows us to strengthen our support for families and districts while motivating us to continue connecting and always moving forward.”
— Jamie L. Chambers, Program Specialist
Office of Special Education, Nebraska

Tier 1: In Service of Self

Skills and strategies introduced at Tier 1 focus on an individual’s relationship to conflict. The concepts, processes, and skills taught are applicable within a range of contexts and are prerequisites for Tier 2 training. They are applied daily in the context of collaboration and in pursuit of shared purpose.

Tier 2: In Service of Others

Tier 2 offers more in-depth training to individuals within an organization or community who will support others to effectively navigate the challenges of conflict. We focus on the following three roles/functions: Conflict Coach, Facilitator, and Teacher.

Tier 3: Accessing External/Mandated Resources

In our context, Tier 3 focuses on advance training for professionals tasked with implementing the resources mandated by the IDEA. Mediation, IEP Facilitation (offered by the SEA), Compliant Investigation, and Due Process Hearings are Tier 3 interventions. We offer both basic and advanced training in Mediation and IEP Facilitation.

We are offering individuals and groups the opportunity to take the Core Tier 1 and Tier 2 courses.


Engaging Challenging Conversations

Target Audience: Educators, Parents, Service Providers

This Tier 1 core course, Engaging Challenging Conversations, is foundational to our Multi-Tiered System of Support for Conflict Engagement, MTSSCE. It is a stand-alone course designed for increasing a participant’s individual capacity for engaging conflict. It also serves as a prerequisite and introduction to key concepts, processes and skills that will be built upon in all subsequent Tier 2 courses. In this seminar we:

  • explore the work of key thinkers and leaders in the field,
  • introduce foundational concepts, processes, and skills at the heart of effective conflict engagement, and
  • explore and practice a fundamental framework and set of skills and strategies for effectively engaging interpersonal conflict.


Leading Through Change and Conflict

Target Audience: Administrators, Supervisors, those with evaluation responsibilities

There is a critical relationship between the concepts of Leadership, Change and Conflict. Leadership facilitates vision that calls for change. Change becomes a context for conflict as people resist moving outside their current comfort zones. Understanding these dynamics will prepare leaders to mobilize people as they engage these challenges. In this seminar we:

  • explore the work of key thinkers in the field of leadership, conflict, and change,
  • explore our personal relationship to conflict and change, and
  • introduce a framework for identifying who you need to be and what you need to do as a leader engaging change and conflict.


Foundations of Effective Teaming

Target Audience: This class is designed for individuals or groups looking to improve teaming. IEP Teams, Leadership Teams, Committees.

In our organizations and communities, it is expected that we will collaborate as we pursue our work. It is such a common expectation that we just assume that it will happen. Effective collaboration takes a shared commitment to a mutual purpose and mutually beneficial outcome. It must be built and nurtured as an essential element of the work. In this seminar we will:

  • identify key challenges to effective teaming,
  • explore a framework for creating shared expectations as a group, and
  • focus on the core function of a team, shared learning.



Operating from the Third Side: Supporting Others to Navigate Conflict

Target Audience: Those interested in developing deeper conflict engagement skills

This Tier 2 core seminar builds on foundational concepts, processes, and skills taught in Tier 1 and at the heart of our Multi-Tiered System of Support for Conflict Engagement (MTSSCE). In this seminar we introduce the key Tier 2 roles of Conflict Coach/Consultant, Facilitator and Teacher. In this seminar we will:

  • Review key concepts, processes and skills covered in Tier 1,
  • Review core elements of MTSS framework,
  • Introduce the role of Facilitator in support supporting challenging conversations of groups or teams,
  • Introduce the role of Conflict Coach in supporting others to intentionally prepare to engage conflict,
  • Be introduced to tools for sharing core conflict engagement skills and strategies with others.


Facilitation: Supporting the Shared Work of Others

Target Audience: Anyone committed to developing these skills.

The significant challenges we face require collective engagement and shared new learning. They require deep, adaptive work in both an individual and group context. The quality of this work is often supported and enhanced by the role of a Facilitator. The role is to serve the group and do for them what they are not able to do for themselves. In this Tier 2 course we explore the role and function of a Facilitator and the skills and strategies they bring in supporting the work of others. In this seminar we will:

  • Deepen participants understanding of the role of a Facilitator.
  • Provide Facilitators with a framework for supporting the work of others.
  • Familiarize participants with concepts, skills, and strategies necessary to effectively act as a neutral third party supporting the work of others.


Facilitating the IEP Process

Target Audience: Anyone committed to supporting the effectiveness of the IEP process.

The development of an IEP, defining FAPE for a student is a complex process of collaboration. It is a context in which team members with diverse expertise and experience must come together and leverage this diversity in service of a student. In order to support this process, many SEA’s and LEA’s are making available a facilitator to support this process. This seminar explores the
role of a facilitator in this specific context.

  • Deepen participants understanding of the role of a Facilitator.
  • Provide participants with a “facilitation” framework for assisting IEP teams to work collaboratively and develop appropriate IEPs.
  • Familiarize participants with concepts, skills, and strategies necessary to effectively act as a neutral third party in a shared decision-making context.


Coaching Change – Supporting Adaptive Work

Target Audience: Anyone committed to supporting the growth and development of others.

Leaders who coach are more effective when measured by the success of individuals and teams. Directive leadership limits the individual or group to the thinking of the leader. A coaching approach unleashes team thinking and performance. By supporting others to think through their challenges, the coaching leader inspires insight and innovation, creates accountable actions, and motivates engagement. In this interactive coaching class, you will:

  • Learn an inquiry-based, action-oriented coaching process that promotes flexible planning and dynamic action.
  • Describe the mindset and strategies a coach uses to co-create trusting relationships
  • Gain skills for effective coaching: inquiry, listening, creating agreements, and giving and receiving feedback.
  • Practice coaching others and being coached.



Upgrading the Application: Developing a More Robust Approach to Mediation

Target Audience: Practicing professional IDEA mediators

Mediation as a practice has grown and matured significantly over the past 25 years. In this seminar we will explore this growth and apply it to the application of Mediation in the context of the IDEA. We will draw on our individual experience and learning to improve our practice.

  • Create a Community of Practice
  • Introduce / Revisit a model for organizing our learning and professional development
  • Assess our current practice in the context of the IDEA
  • Identify and explore upgrades, modification, accommodations


Special Education Management

Leadership Development