Training Programs

All of our training programs are custom designed to meet specific organisational needs.

General training in leadership, management and commercial topics is provided through The Solutionist Group (
Family Business training is provided through Family Business Strategies (

Dispute Resolution training is provided through Dispute Solutions.  Please read on:

Meeting Management   (1/2 day program)

This short program teaches you how to run a powerful, high quality meeting process to deal with difficult issues and/or people.  It is designed for individuals, business and organisational leaders, professionals, managers and staff.

Each program is customised to address the specific needs of individuals and organisations.

Our primary objective is to equip attendees with the knowledge, skills and tools required to: prepare for, organise, participate in, manage and follow through on the outcomes and commitments obtained from formal and informal meetings.

We focus on the practicalities of purpose, structure and process required to manage meetings effectively, using the tools we apply when we’re engaged to facilitate meetings.

Course Topics
The program begins with conceptual and structural frameworks and quickly moves on to cover some or all of the following:

Concepts and Structures – Meeting Elements and Dynamics

  • Issue Dynamics – Problem Solving (CONSEPS).
  • Human and Process Dynamics – Decision Making; Balance Communication; Negotiation and Mediation.

Preparing for Meetings

  • Purpose of meeting.
  • Information requirements – facts, positions, needs and interests.
  • Participant list – commitment and authority; character and personality.
  • Nature of meeting- scope and style.
  • Logistics – when, where, how etc. Facilities required.
  • Agenda setting – declaratory or consultative?
  • Invitations to participate and RSVP procedures.
  • Pre-meeting mutual obligations – information exchange etc.
  • Individual/team preparation for meeting – individual and team tasks and responsibilities (including research, analysis and prediction); issues and interest identification and prioritisation; presentation format(s); timings etc.

Managing the Meeting

  • Logistics on the day – environment and facility checks.
  • Welcome and introductions; housekeeping; ground rules; Codes of Conduct.
  • Assignment of roles:  chair, scribe, refreshments.
  • Visual aids and other tools.
  • Commitment to and guidance through the agenda.
  • Presentation of materials.
  • Notes and minute taking techniques; re-framing and scribing.
  • Maintaining respect, discipline and momentum, including timing.
  • Management of personal interactions.
  • Completion of agenda.
  • Managing agreements, closures and conclusions, including action items.
  • Contingency planning.

Post-meeting actions, analyses and de-briefs

  • Minutes of Meetings.
  • Evaluating meeting outcomes, including satisfaction/closure surveys.
  • Follow through commitments and plans – responsibilities, accountabilities, support, timelines and reporting back.
  • Further meetings.
  • Contingency planning.

Facilitation Skills for Business Managers (1 Day Program)

Groups, teams and workplaces function more effectively in challenging situations when they have inspiring leaders and efficient managers.  But group dynamics have changed in recent years and modern leaders and managers need an expanded toolkit of skills – because it’s persuasion, rather than compulsion, that focuses and directs the collaborative energies of “new age” groups and employees.

Our 1 Day course assumes some pre-existing knowledge of basic problem solving, communication and negotiation techniques.  We build on this to provide participants with an empowering understanding of, and an enhanced ability to apply, facilitation skills in a wide range of situations.

We use a mixture of presentations and facilitated, small/large group learning exercises to cover the following topics and activities:

1. Overview of the Facilitation Process:

  1. Key concepts #1 – group dynamics and process philosophy:  collaboration, not competition.
  2. Key concepts #2 – methodology:  the facilitator’s role;  practical techniques and skills.
  3. Key concepts #3 – the human dimension:  personality types;  values, ethics and cultures;  dealing with different and difficult people.
  4. Effective uses and applications of facilitation skills.
  5. Validity and durability of outcomes.


2. Facilitation Process Model:

  1. CONSEPS ™  for problem analysis and solution synthesis.
  2. Process Tools:
    a)  Setup – initiating meetings.
    b)  Framework – Setting the environment, process and house rules.
    c)  Deconstruct – issue identification and agenda setting.
    d)  Analysis – Active listening, open questions and reframing.
    e)  Tools – Using whiteboards and other visual tools.
    f)   Martial Arts (1) – Dealing with reluctant, resistant and hostile
    participants – balance communication, negotiation and persuasion.
    g)  Design – generating options for improvement and settlement –
    brainstorming and negotiation.  The Facilitator as Solution Designer.
    h)  Martial Arts (2) – Breaking through process blockers, impasses and deadlocks.
    i)  Synthesis – selecting best options and securing commitment to and responsibility for workable and durable outcomes.
    j)  Document – recoding outcomes.
    k)  Monitor and Manage – followup process:  measure outcomes;  keep to task;  improve as required.


3. Group Facilitation Exercise

  1. Comprehensive “walk through” facilitation exercise (designed to address topics of interest to program participants).  All participants are assigned individual and active roles, characters and tasks to work on in small groups.
  2. Large group debrief of facilitation exercise – learning outcomes.


4. Open Forum

  1. Group observations, comments and questions.
  2. Closing comments – tips, tricks and traps.


Costs: Please enquire.


5 Day Mediation Training Program (Modular)

Our mediation training is designed to be a little bit different:

  1. It contains all the theory you need to be able to understand and respond to whatever comes up in any mediation setting.  At the same time we avoid overloading you with rules-based theories that inhibit your own intuition and freedom to act.
  2. It is designed to be a practical, skills-based program, based on over 25 years of real mediation experience and many thousands of mediation contact hours.

Learning Objectives
We equip participants to act competently in a wide variety of “mediation environments”, either as participants in their own workplace and life activities, in a professional capacity as a mediator, or as an adviser involved in mediation processes (eg: as a lawyer, advocate, expert or other type of representative or assistant).

Program Structure
The program develops critical knowledge, practical skills and measured confidence on a progressive basis.

We commence with the essential Foundation Skills required by all competent mediators (and leaders, managers, business partners and owners, parents etc etc):

(a)  Problem Solving & Decision Making and (b) Balance Communication.
We then teach you how to apply these skills in increasingly complex environments:
(b)  Negotiation – where parties have competing interests.
(c)  Mediation – where parties are engaged in “hostile negotiations”.

Expected Outcomes
Mediation is a fiercely practical activity where there is no substitute for relevant experience. This program provides as much knowledge and skill as can sensibly be crammed into 5 days to equip participants to engage (carefully!) in real life and work situations, with reasonable confidence.

Our primary objective is not to qualify people to practice as mediators, other organisations (LEADR and IAMA) already do that, producing many more mediators than there is work for.  Instead we teach practical mediation skills and competencies as personal and professional development skills, knowing that our students emerge as more effective leaders, managers, negotiators, organisers and teachers.  Our program takes participants most of the way to national accreditation, but individual circumstances should be discussed first if this is important to you.

Problem Solving & Decision Making (1 day)
Lead Presenter: Jon Kenfield.

Learning Objectives
This course teaches the fundamentals of problem solving, and is applicable to any type of problem involving two or more people.  There need not be any conflict, there only needs to be a requirement to work collaboratively to develop a solution.

We teach participants how to use the CONSEPS® model, which shows them how to analyse problems and synthesise solutions through a 4 stage process.  Students are provided with a conceptual framework, procedural guidelines and practical tools that they can take away with them and apply in any problem situation they have to deal with – both at work and in their private lives.

Reflecting the fact that problem solving is a fiercely practical activity, students are provided with facilitated case studies to practise their new skills and reinforce their course learnings.

Our second main objective is to teach participants how to make wise decisions – and to show them how to be satisfied that decisions they have made, and hopefully acted on, have indeed been wise.  This recognises the danger of, and helps them to avoid, decision rigor mortis – a potentially crippling condition that can affect individuals, families, businesses and all organisations.

Hierarchy of Skills – Position in Skills Development Program
This is our Level (1), most basic foundation skill, program.

Course Topics
Definition of a “Problem”
Elements of a Problem
People Factors
Issue Factors
Elements of Problem Solving
Essential Objective, Substance and Outcomes
Making Wise Decisions
CONSEPS®  Model – Concept
The CONSEPS®  Model – Applications

Process Stages:

  • Stage 1: Identify (facts and other information)
  • Stage 2: Evaluate (information and choices)
  • Stage 3: Option Generation
  • Stage 4: Solutions

Other Thinking Tips, Tools and Techniques
Other Thinking Tools for Problem Solving
Summary – Ten Guidelines for more effective Problem Solving

Communication and “Balance Communication” (1 day)
Lead Presenter: Jon Kenfield.

We present the latest theory and practices in “standard” communication and introduce our own concept of “Balance Communication”.  This is a unique and evolutionary advance on standard communication practice – born out of our extensive experience of managing difficult and complex communications, and the broad research and extra training we’ve undertaken to help answer our own questions and to make us more effective in our mediation and communication work.

Learning Objectives
This course teaches participants how and why they should understand and use communication as a tool for process and relationship management.  It contains a mixture of background and process theory, skills teaching and practical exercises.

Hierarchy of Skills – Position in Skills Development Program
This is a Level (2) course. In the overall scheme of our progressive skills development program it comes after Level (1) Problem Solving & Decision Making and before Level (3) Negotiation.

Course Topics
The main components of the course are:
Review – Problem Solving & Decision Making.
Communication – Concepts, Definitions, Elements and Methods.
Knowledge and Information.
(Standard) Communication Strategies.
Balance Communication Concepts.
Balance Communication Elements – Personal Capacity:

  • Intellect
  • Experience
  • Knowledge & Skills

Balance Communication Elements – Personal Attributes:

  • Brain Functioning & Personality Types.

Balance Communication Strategies.
Balance Communication Tactics:

  • Needs & Interests.
  • Empathy & Assertiveness.
  • Techniques, Tools & Skills.

Body Language & Other Non-verbal Factors.

Persuasive Negotiation (1 day)
Lead Presenter: Jon Kenfield.

Negotiation is the process of developing an agreed outcome in situations where two or more parties have competing or conflicting needs, demands and/or interests.

Our negotiation ideology and methodology are based on the concept of principled, interest-based negotiation.  In essence, this is a collaborative model that believes you make better deals by collaborating to create value, rather than by competing to claim value.  By also teaching skills of persuasion and influencing, we increase your capacity to obtain and facilitate best possible personal outcomes by helping you to create best possible issues outcomes.

Learning Objectives
Course participants learn about the dynamics that are in play during all negotiations by obtaining a powerful conceptual/practical framework within which to conduct negotiations.

Hierarchy of Skills – Position in Skills Development Program
This is a Level (3) course.  As an application of skills program it builds on:  Level (1) Problem Solving & Decision Making, and Level (2) Communication and Balance Communication.

Session Outline
The day consists of concentrated information and skills transfer through presentations, facilitated discussions and practical exercises.

1. Introduction – Negotiation Defined

  • What is negotiation?
  • Why negotiate?
  • When are we negotiating?
  • When should we negotiate?
  • The difference between:  Crushing, Surrender, Selling and Negotiation.
  • Essential qualities of good negotiators.
  • Why good negotiators are so persuasive.

2. Negotiation Concepts

  • Skilful, managed process vs unstructured, instinctive response.
  • Collaboration vs Competition.
  • Power, Rights and Interests.
  • Optimal Outcomes:  “win without destruction, agree without surrender”.

3. Negotiation Context

  • Problem Issues and People Issues.
  • Proactive problem solving vs Reactive problem wearing.
  • Motivators – “what’s at stake?” – BATNA and WATNA.
  • Purposive commitment to negotiate.

4. Negotiation Strategies and Tactics

  • Vision – objectives.
  • Strategy – direction.
  • Tactics – plans.
  • Implementation – practical follow through.

5. Negotiation Style – Character and Attributes

  • Group Exercise – recognising different personality types and styles.
  • Logic and Emotion.
  • Character – Principles and Values.
  • Personality – Proactive vs Reactive.
  • Conscience and Congruence – overt and hidden styles.
  • Dealing with different personality types.

6. Influencing Skills

Emotion and Logic  – subjective / objective.  Internal / external frames of reference.
Balance Communication – Empathy and Assertiveness.
Active listening.
Body language.
Effective Questioning.

7. Conducting Negotiations – Tools and Techniques – CONSEPS Model.

  • Preparation:
    - Situation and Needs Analysis.
    - Evaluation and Reality Check.
  • Presentation:
    - Interest Alignment and Blocker Burst-throughs.
    - Collaborative Option Generation.
  • Consideration:
    - Actively monitoring the process.
    - Evaluation of prospects
  • Agreement:
    - Adopting solutions that are durable and practical.

8. Negotiation Exercise – Putting it all together:  a comprehensive and practical negotiation exercise, incorporating progressive feedback and a final de-brief.

Mediation Program (2 days)
Lead Presenter: Jon Kenfield.

This is a practical mediation skills development program, based on almost 20 years of real life, professional mediation experience.  As an advanced training module designed to teach practical skills, the theory component occupies only the first ½ day.  The remaining 1½ days are occupied by 3 x ½ day mediation role plays, where each participant is required, at some time, to play the role of: (a) applicant; (b) respondent and (c) mediator.

Learning Objectives
The primary objective of this program is to equip participants to act as mediators, either in their own workplace and life activities, in a professional capacity as a mediator, or as an adviser involved in mediation processes (eg: as a manager, lawyer or other professional).

Hierarchy of Skills – Position in Skills Development Program
This is a Level (4), advanced skills application course that builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in our earlier courses: Level (1) Problem Solving & Decision Making; Level (2) Communication and Balance Communication and Level (3) Negotiation.

Session Outline

1. Overview of Conflict Management & Dispute Resolution – principles and processes

Mediation Concepts

  • Independence and Neutrality.
  • Managed, interest-based negotiation process.
  • Problem solving focus.
  • Facilitative vs Directive and Evaluative processes.

2. Mediation Process Stage (1) – Preliminary Contact

  • Initial contacts and liaison with parties and their advisers.
  • Samples and use of proforma documents.
  • Exploration (1):  initial issue identification – what appears to be in dispute?
  • Exploration (2):  parties; personalities and powers; respective positions, needs and interests; separate and mutual objectives.
  • Process choices – initial consideration of possible process options (matching the process to the dispute and the parties).
  • Chemistry – does it all feel right, so far?
  • Preliminary Planning Meeting – set time and place and circulate agenda.
  • Mediation Agreement – select and circulate long or short form version.

3. Mediation Process Stage (2) – Preliminary Meeting

  • Neutral, comfortable and practical location and ambience.
  • Agenda – as circulated.
  • The Mediation Agreement – a systematic checklist for all key process issues:
    - Checking in: confirm identity of parties;  issues for resolution;  authority to negotiate and settle;  process choice and expectations.
    - Information: discuss and agree information requirements, information gathering and information exchange.
    - Logistics: process timetable;  costs and other practical issues.
    - Commitment: reconfirm willingness to participate and sign Mediation Agreement.

4. Mediation Process Stage (3) – Pre-Mediation Period

  • Communication – maintain momentum, focus and commitment between meetings, as/if required.
  • Monitor Progress – receive / be copied in on required information exchanges per the agreed timetable.  Help to stiffen the parties’ resolve to participate as agreed and to see the process through.
  • Problem Solving – act as a resource for all parties to answer questions and doubts, help overcome hesitation and roadblocks etc.

5. Mediation Process Stage (4) – Mediation Meeting(s)

  • Mediation Meeting(s) – setting the tone – appropriate location, macro and micro environments and logistics generally.
  • Mediator’s opening statement re process and check in re Mediation Agreement and mutual commitments re preparation.
  • Parties’ opening statements – outlines of respective cases.
  • Agenda Setting (List of Issues for Resolution) – Mediator checks in with all parties that they have an agreed, comprehensive list of all issues that require resolution (ie: if all notified issues are resolved, the dispute will be resolved).  List to be written up in a prominent and visible location.
  • Joint meetings (mediator facilitates discussions):
    - De-construct List of Issues / problems into smaller, manageable, solvable elements.
    - Help parties to look beyond their immediate concerns to consider longer term implications and consequences, needs and interests.
  • Caucusing (mediator meets with individual parties, in private) – more intensive, confidential analysis of problem elements.  Facilitates “big picture” analysis and reality checking.
  • Option generation and reality checking (joint and separate meetings).
  • Synthesise options into potential solutions.  Facilitate visualising solutions in place.
  • Develop and record agreements – whiteboard, butchers’ paper etc.
  • Sign off on agreement.

6. Mediation Tools and Techniques

  • Visual aids – whiteboards, butcher’s paper, cueing cards etc.
  • Dealing with emotional and/or difficult parties.
  • Creating a sense of optimism that problems can be resolved.
  • Establishing and maintaining neutrality and confidence in the Mediator and in the process.
  • Empathy and assertiveness – the Mediator’s sense of timing:  when to push, when to pull, when to lead, when to follow, when to add pressure, when to back off.

7. Case Study Exercises – micro skills practice sessions (all of 3 hour duration)

Generic or specifically tailored mediation scenarios.
Each session is observed, supervised, assessed and de-briefed:

  • Practice Mediation #1 – Day #1 (afternoon).
  • Practice Mediation #2 – Day #2 (morning).
  • Practice Mediation #3 – Day #2 (afternoon).