Facilitation - About Facilitation?



Facilitation is a useful negotiating tool used to communicate difficult situations when there is no dispute, but when one may well occur.

Take the example of coal gas mining companies, which have the right to explore on farming land which is privately owned without first having to ask the permission of the land owners.

Whilst they have that legal right, it make obvious sense to negotiate on a friendly basis before commencing.  In this example and for many other situations such as this Mediation Australia can be retained to conduct Facilitation whenever it is needed during the period before and during the activity until it has been completed.

With Facilitation, mediation methods are used to overcome any disagreement before it arises when the nature of the matter could easily cause disharmony between parties.

In the example above, if the coal gas miner requires negotiation mainly with its own interests in mind then we can provide the service of Advocacy which is more suited to the circumstances.  However, with the neutral Facilitation service, the weaker party is aware that fairness will prevail during the negotiations.

The fees charged for Facilitation are generally paid only by the party with the majority of vested interest in the project.



Are Facilitation fees different from Mediation fees?


The Facilitation fees are often shared between the parties, as in the case of the mediation of a dispute, but in cases where there exists a more significant financial advantage for one party than the other, it is common for the first party to pay all of the fees. Never-the-less, the mediating Facilitator will conduct negotiations in a manner which is neutral.

If, in this example, the miner had preferred the negotiations to be conducted with his or her interests prevailing, then our Advocacy service is more appropriately used. However, the use of the neutral Facilitation mediation process demonstrates to the weaker party that complete fairness is of paramount importance. The fees charged are the same as for Mediation. Please call us for details.



So, how does the Facilitator use mediation techniques differently from the techniques of Mediation?


Whilst there isn’t a lot of difference, a dispute isn’t in existence; the parties are just mindful that one may well occur because of the nature of the project.

The Facilitator’s first objective is to understand and document all the potential areas which may give rise to a disagreement.  The idea of the methodology is to provide an environment which is conducive to reasonable and friendly communication between the parties which will encourage logical negotiation to secure agreement.

The example used here is of a business relationship, but Facilitation can be used effectively in family relationships as well. They may, for example, be most effective in handling discussions when two families join through marriage and where there are children of both parties who will be living together.  It isn’t difficult to anticipate the sorts of problems which may occur. After all, they already do present themselves in families of the parents of all of the children.  

Another is example is when children are near pubity. A discussion with 12 and 13 year old children about the types of arguments which might occur between parents and children can be discussed on a theoretical basis.  That can set the scene for sensible and logical negotiations when such events finally occur, such as dating, parties and alcohol consumption arise.

Is this a hard task for everyone concerned?  Of course it certainly is quite difficult, but therein lies the wonderful potential of Facilitation to minimise such adverse events.

Facilitation can be an invaluable tool for creating and maintaining consensus in families, businesses, large corporations, and governments.


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“Alternative Dispute Resolutions”


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Consultations (by appointment only) at any one of the many Mediation Australia offices across Australian states and territories. You are welcome to call your nearest Mediation Australia office for obligation free advice about how you can use mediation to resolve your matter. Copyright Mediation Australia 2013