Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What’s ADR?

ADR = alternative dispute resolution or sometimes, appropriate dispute resolution

What makes ‘conflict management’ different from ‘dispute resolution’?

The term ‘conflict management’ recognizes the fact that it is not always practical, desirable, or possible to resolve a dispute / conflict either in the moment or for the longer term. Instead, we may need to: take time to get more information / assess possible approaches; figure out a way to work across differences; refocus our time and energy on other priorities; or find ways to escalate concerns internally.

What is conflict coaching?

Conflict coaching’ is an early resolution tool used by dispute resolution professionals to transfer specific dispute resolution skills, tools and knowledge to a person who is experiencing a conflict (or looking to prevent a potential conflict) so that they can more effectively self-advocate and engage with contentious situations. Coaching gives individuals tools they can keep in their conflict management toolbox for the next conflict. Conflict coaching is respectful, collaborative, encouraging and forward-looking.

What’s an ombuds?

An ombuds (ombudsperson, ombudsman) is an independent third-party who provides confidential, impartial, and informal complaint intake, conflict coaching, issue review, and investigation, reporting, and recommendations. You will find ombuds with varying mandates and responsibilities in all types of organizations, including corporations, government agencies, colleges and universities, hospitals etc. A legislative or classical ombuds has a mandate defined by legislation, whereas an organizational ombuds will have terms of reference and adhere to Standards of Practice, e.g., International Ombuds Association Standards of Practice. An organization may hire an ombuds as an employee, on contract, or using some other structure – in all cases consideration should be made to ensure the ombuds operates independently, and is seen to be independent.

What is a mediator?

A mediator is an external third-party neutral who can help people find their way to a mutually agreeable resolution to a conflict. Mediation is a form of confidential, guided negotiation – the mediator is impartial (i.e., not a decision-maker) and any outcome must be agreed by the parties. Mediators have specific training, skills and experiences that will inform their style / approach to mediation.