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Assessment/Assessment Tools:

What are Assessment Tools used for? Impartial/Neutral Practitioners use assessment tools such as the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) and focus groups to provide insight into the individuals that comprise the group and/or the current climate within the group.

Assessment tools can provide insight into the individuals that comprise the group. These tools include assessments of individual behavior traits and preferences. Confidential interviews can also be used as a form of assessment to assist in formulating interest, issues, and expectations of the parties involved. This information can be enormously useful in designing the group process or the intervention to be selected. Visit the Specialized Training and Assessment Instruments page to learn more.


Climate Assessment:

What is a Climate Assessment? It’s when an Impartial/Neutral Practitioner conducts interviews, written surveys and/or focus groups to assess the type of steps, processes and/or tools a group need to help resolve or improve their current situation.

Conflict/Climate Assessments "take the temperature" of a group of any size whether or not there is a conflict issue at hand. Depending on the situation, a Conflict/Climate Assessment may:

  • Gather information about the current status of a team, office, or organization
  • Identify relevant issues or concerns about a conflict situation
  • Identify factors that are having an impact on the group
  • Clarify signs or symptoms of a problem
  • Gather ideas or input from stakeholders
  • Proactively check how teams or offices are doing

"Using Climate Assessments to Address Conflict" information sheet.


Conflict Coaching:

What is Conflict Coaching? Conflict Coaching is a one-on-one meeting(s) between a client and an Impartial/Neutral Practitioner, where the practitioner guides the client through a process which helps them develop skills and strategies for constructively managing a difficult situation where conflict is present.

Coaches work with individuals on a one-on-one basis, over a sustained period of time. The coaching relationship assists in developing objectives and opportunities for observation and feedback. Coaches help improve effectiveness, assist with decision-making approaches, communication styles, and conflict management. To learn more about Conflict Coaching view the "Using Conflict Coaching to Address Conflict" information sheet or contact the CADR Staff.



Training is available to all USGS employees on a variety of topics which include, but not limited to, Communication Skills, Conflict Management, and Interest Based Negotiation.

Training is a very valuable tool but works best when it can be most effective. If underlying problems and issues have not yet been address, the effectiveness of the training may be hindered by these unresolved concerns. Training on effective communication techniques, team building, and conflict management skills are examples of topics to consider when the time is "right" or when preparing people for working together in a collaborative forum. To learn more visit Training and Workshops.



What is Mediation? Mediation is a process in which an Impartial/Neutral Practitioner who has no decision-making authority assists the parties in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the issues in the dispute.

Mediation is a fairly structured process, which utilizes the assistance of a neutral third party to manage the process. The parties at the mediation table are empowered to create their own solution with the parameters of existing federal laws and guidelines. To learn more, contact the USGS CADR Staff.



What does a Facilitator do? A Facilitator assists to improve the flow of information between parties, or helps a group move through a problem-solving process to reach consensus on a resolution which achieves the stated goals of the group.

Facilitation can range from managing a brainstorming session to handling complex group dynamics where heightened tension exists. The skills of a facilitator should be tailored to the type of use that has been identified. During complex facilitations, a skilled neutral facilitator or team may be most effective and may need to use additional tools such as mediation with the group members to move toward consensus-based outcomes. To learn more about facilitation visit Facilitation for Effective Outcomes or Organizational Development/OD.

"Using the Group Facilitation Process to Address Conflict" information sheet.


Conflict Management for Teams:

Conflict Management for Teams is a team-building module which aids teams in improving communication, gaining insight about personal preference as it relates to styles of work, and conflict management. It is an excellent resource for bringing colleagues together, in an effort to enhance team relationships and improve performance. Based on the team's need, the conflict management module is tailored to accommodate the overall objectives identified. For more information on Conflict Management for Teams contact the USGS CADR Staff.

Conflict Management for Teams can help to:

  • Improve overall team performance and morale
  • Address conflict early on
  • Gain insight on how your team operates



What is Conciliation? Conciliation is when an Impartial/Neutral Practitioner assists parties with overcoming distrust and/or animosity.

This process involves an impartial third party who assists the parties to address tensions or hurt feelings, resolve issues of concern and improve communications, clarify misunderstandings and build a more positive working relationship.


Cooperative Problem Solving:

What is Cooperative Problem Solving? In essence, Cooperative Problem Solving is an attempt at “self-help”, where the parties in a dispute or disagreement collaborate without the assistance of a third party to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

This is an informal technique that does not require the assistance of an impartial neutral practitioner, in which the parties recognize that a problem or dispute exists and agree to work together to resolve the conflict or dispute through collaboration rather than competition in order to avoid the negative impacts that could otherwise occur. If cooperative problem solving proves too difficult or does not resolve all of the issues, the parties may seek impartial third party assistance.


Confidential Consultation:

What is Confidential Consultation? Confidential Consultation is typically the starting point in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. It’s an informal meeting with an Impartial/Neutral Practitioner where the client can explore their options in the suite of ADR services available.

This is an informal one-on-one meeting or discussion with an impartial neutral third party to allow a venue for deliberation, discussion, or decision by an employee or manager considering their options.


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