Since it emerged over twenty years ago, the number of professionals using the Collaborative Process has grown and expanded worldwide. Clients have embraced the process as an alternative to the conflict in traditional litigation.

Attorneys have altered how they practice and now some involve coaches, child specialists and financial experts in cases other than collaborative.

Like all good ideas, and other approaches to problem solving, the collaborative process continues to evolve as well.

A recent twist to the process has emerged in Wisconsin. Some professionals refer to it as the “facilitative” model, others prefer to call it the “enhanced one coach” model, and still others have developed their own unique descriptions.

In this approach, the collaborative team has a manager of sorts, most often a coach, who works to coordinate the complete team efforts. Coordination and communication among the parties and professionals is a challenge in any team environment. Advocates of the approach believe a primary contact point serves a valuable role for the clients – and other team members – and reinforces the client-focused goal and overall efficiency of the collaborative team.

The facilitator, manager, coach – whatever term applied to the function – attends all meetings and assumes responsibility for case and workflow management. The clients have a primary source of access to the process whilst still relying upon their attorney and other team members for advice and guidance. The coach continues the traditional service of enhancing client communication and managing emotional issues but perhaps on a broader scale.

The approach obviously requires the cooperation and understanding of the other team members. It may or may not be the right approach for you. Every case is different and each solution is unique to the situation. Like all aspects of process change, this approach will evolve and if useful and successful, grow in frequency. If not, you – the client – will decide that as well.