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Collaborative Coaching

Supporting you through the Collaborative Family Law Process

The Collaborative Family Law Process brings together professionals across all the disciplines involved in Family Dispute Resolution so that your family can resolve parenting and property arrangements outside of the courts. The Collaborative Coach is the team leader that coordinates between the participants (the separating couple involved in the dispute) and their support teams (which could include financial advisors, lawyers, and child specialists).


It's a bespoke process and is determined by your particular needs and context as a family. At BRB Mediation, we understand that navigating divorce can be emotionally challenging, especially when children are involved. Bianca Roche-Bolger's Collaborative Coaching services are designed to support divorcing parents through the collaborative family law process, emphasising a non-adversarial approach that prioritises the well-being of the entire family.

What is Collaborative Practice?

By treating everyone involved with respect, Collaborative Practice enables participants to solve disputes in a way that preserves their dignity and avoids the stress of litigation.

Collaborative Practice is the process of solving disputes – such as separation of partners, or business disputes – outside of courts. Instead of treating disputes as conflicts with winners and losers, collaborative practice enables both parties to work together, with their lawyers, to achieve the best outcome for them both.

Collaborative Practice involves a different procedure to solving issues through the courts system. At the outset, all parties sign a Participation Agreement, wherein everyone agrees to behave in a respectful manner to each other and provide the relevant information needed to create a fair agreement at the end. You and your lawyers will communicate with each other in face-to-face meetings, telephone conferences, and written correspondence. There will be four way-meetings in which everyone can share their views, concerns and important information in order to reach an agreement. Once an agreement is made, it can be made into a legal order by a judge.

There are many benefits to engaging in Collaborative Practice, rather than resorting to courts or mediation. The process of Collaborative Practice ensures that all parties have the support they need. In addition to lawyers, other professionals may be engaged to look after the needs of both parties and ensure the best possible outcome for all involved. These may include child consultants, financial advisers, accountants, psychologists, or coaches.

Collaborative Practice can be a particularly attractive option when children are present in the case. The needs of children are given careful consideration, and additional professionals may be brought into proceedings to ensure they are looked after properly. Additionally, by avoiding court procedures, it makes it possible to preserve working relationships between both partners. This is especially important if ongoing cooperation will be necessary while looking after children. It also minimises the emotional distress children would face during litigation and ongoing conflict between their parents.

Image by Lindsey Erin

Benefits of the Collaborative Process

Emotional Support: 

Divorce can evoke a range of emotions, from sadness and anger to anxiety and uncertainty. Our collaborative coaches offer a supportive and empathetic environment where you can express your feelings, process your emotions, and develop coping strategies to navigate this challenging time.

Communication Skills:

Effective communication is essential for successful collaboration. Our coaches provide guidance on improving communication skills, managing conflict constructively, and fostering productive dialogue with your co-parent to address concerns and reach agreements that benefit your children.


Child-Centered Approach:

The well-being of your children is our top priority. Our collaborative coaches help you prioritize your children's needs and interests throughout the collaborative process, ensuring that their voices are heard and their best interests are reflected in parenting plans and custody arrangements.


Legal Guidance:

While collaborative law involves resolving disputes outside of court, it's important to understand your legal rights and obligations. Our coaches work closely with experienced family law attorneys to provide you with the legal information and guidance you need to make informed decisions and advocate for your interests effectively.

Role of the Collaborative Coach

A collaborative coach is often seen as the “keeper” of the collaborative process. They bring the team together and manage action items and ensure that all parties stay focussed on the goal for a more respectful and less adversarial approach to their separation. A collaborative coach can assist in communication between the parties by supporting those that may find it difficult to speak up for themselves. The coach can assist in managing stress and offering referrals and supports for various issues that may arise in the process.

Combined with their training in the collaborative process, our Collaborative Coaches have extensive experience in family law and assisting parties with resolution options following relationship breakdown. Through their mediation experience, and many years facilitating discussions between parties, our Coaches have honed their communication skills. They have also worked extensively with other professionals in the collaborative space and are ready to support you and your clients explore outcomes that are beneficial to every person impacted by the relationship breakdown.


BRB is your Collaborative Process Coach

There are many roles involved in this process that create your collaborative team. Each of these roles are important in facilitating best possible outcomes; this may include the lawyers, the child specialists, the financial advisors (also known as financial neutrals), and the coach. The coach brings the whole team together.

Bianca Roche-Bolger has been working as a coach for collaborative family law matters for the past ten years. She believes the process is a highly effective and less stressful way to reach resolution. It is resource-heavy and so can be more expensive, however, it's like the Rolls Royce approach because it means you have your very own dedicated team who are all working for you and your family's best interests. Often, everyone involved brings a different kind of energy to the negotiation table because their role isn't to hold a strict position, rather it's about collaborating with the rest of your dedicated experts alongside your family.

The goals are settlement driven. This reduces the impact of stress and conflict on all participants, but particular the children. The aim is to protect parenting relationships for the future ahead.

Bianca Roche-Bolger Mediation Professional photo.jpg

Meet your Collaborative Coach

Bianca Roche Bolger is on the board of the Collaborative Professionals peak body for NSW. You can see her team profile here.

Bianca says:

It is always such a privilege to work with families in the Collaborative Process. To support them as they try to navigate the changes in their relationship, whilst restructuring their family, is both challenging and professionally rewarding at the same time. Being a member of a multi-disciplinary, strengths focused team, is a further highlight. It not only ensures our clients are well resourced and have access to a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise, but it also enables you to share with and learn from one another. I strongly believe that the collegiate team building that comes when working together on collaborative matters, ripples outwards and continues to bring benefit to all members of the wider family law community.

Read about Bianca's qualifications here >

Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals Webinar

The Role of the Coach In Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice: A Webinar

Hosted by Shelby Timmins, with Bianca Roche-Bolger, Julia Brierley, Bernie Bolger, and Valerie Norton.

AUGUST 11, 2020

View original page >

  • What is a child consultation?
    A child consultation provides children with a safe and supportive environment to express their thoughts, feelings, and preferences regarding family matters during the mediation process.
  • Why is child consultation important in family dispute resolution?
    Section 12 of the UN Rights of the Child states that children must be provided with the opportunity to be heard in processes where decisions will be made that effect them. Child consultation allows children to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives, promotes their emotional well-being, provides avenues for relational repair and ensures that their perspectives are considered in the resolution of family disputes.
  • Who can benefit from the child consultation service at BRB Mediation?
    Families going through separation, divorce, parenting disputes, or any other family conflict where children's interests are at stake can benefit from the child consultation service.
  • How does the child consultation process work at BRB Mediation?
    Our trained child consultants meet with children individually or in a sibling group setting to engage in age-appropriate discussions, activities, and exercises designed to explore their feelings, concerns, and needs regarding the family situation.
  • What age groups of children can participate in the child consultation service?
    Child consultation services at BRB Mediation are tailored to accommodate children of various ages, developmental stages, and communication abilities, ensuring that each child's unique perspective is valued and understood. The process is designed for children of school age (5 years and up) however younger children in a sibling group may still be able to participate. Adult siblings older than 18 years are also welcome to participate too.
  • Is child consultation confidential?
    Yes, child consultation sessions are confidential, and the information shared by children is not disclosed to parents or other parties without the child's consent, except in cases where there are concerns about the child's safety or well-being. The consultant will check with the child what information can be shared with their parents at the feedback session and explore with them how best to do this.
  • Who conducts the child consultation sessions at BRB Mediation?
    Bianca Roche-Bolger has trained in various models of child inclusive practice, and has many years experience in working clinically with children of all ages and their families.
  • How do parents participate in the child consultation process?
    While parents do not directly participate in the child consultation sessions, they will provide background information and consent for their child to participate. After the consultation, the child consultant will hold a feedback session with all parents and their mediator, to discuss key themes and specific needs, which in turn will inform the decisions reached in mediation.
  • Is a report written by the Child Consultant?
    No. As child consultation is a privileged process held under confidentiality of Family Dispute Resolution, feedback is given live to parents in session with the mediator. A report is not written, however, the mediator will take the child's issues and agenda back into the joint mediation session so agreements can then be formulated.
  • What happens if a child expresses concerns or disclosures during the consultation sessions?
    Bianca Roche-Bolger is equipped to handle sensitive issues and disclosures that may arise during the consultation process. They follow ethical guidelines and legal requirements to ensure the safety and well-being of the child while also providing appropriate support and referrals as needed.
  • How do I arrange a child consultation session at BRB Mediation?
    To schedule a child consultation session at BRB Mediation, simply contact us or The Mediation Collective to discuss your specific needs and concerns. Your family dispute resolution practitioner (mediator) may also have made a direct referral to Bianca Roche-Bolger for child consultation as part of your mediation process and Bianca will liaise with them to ensure that the process is comfortable and supportive for you and your child.
  • Additional Links & Resources
    Collaborative Professionals NSW Inc. is the professional body in NSW for practitioners in this space. If you're looking for people to build your team with head over to the link below:
  • What is collaborative coaching in the collaborative family law process?
    Collaborative Coaching is a specialised form of support provided to couples participating in the Collaborative Family Law Process. It involves working with a trained coach to prepare for and navigate the collaborative negotiation process effectively.
  • Why is Collaborative Coaching important in the Collaborative Family Law Process?
    Collaborative coaching helps individuals manage emotions, communicate effectively, and focus on their interests and priorities during negotiations. It promotes a collaborative mindset and enhances the likelihood of reaching mutually beneficial agreements.
  • Who can benefit from Collaborative Coaching?
    Any participant (parents / separating couples) and other team members (such as lawyers or financial experts) can benefit from working with the coach in the collaborative process.
  • What does a Collaborative Coach do?
    A Collaborative Coach provides guidance, support, and practical strategies to help clients prepare emotionally and psychologically for collaborative negotiations. They assist clients in clarifying their goals, managing conflict constructively, and maintaining open communication and strengthening the parental relationship into the future.
  • How does Collaborative Coaching differ from traditional therapy or counselling?
    Collaborative Coaching is focused specifically on preparing individuals for the collaborative negotiation process and does not delve into deep psychological issues or past traumas. It emphasises practical skills and strategies for effective communication and conflict resolution. It is time limited in that it is only necessary during the conflict resolution process.
  • Is Collaborative Coaching confidential?
    Collaborative Coaching does have some one on one sessions however the majority of the process is conducted in meetings with both of the participants and the members of their team present. Full and frank disclosure is a cornerstone of the process and clients should be prepared to discuss all aspects that arise as part of the resolution process. Everything should be able to be discussed on the agenda. The coach will help you prepare for these potentially difficult and uncomfortable discussions in the one on one sessions.
  • What happens if one party refuses to participate in Collaborative Coaching?
    While collaborative coaching is designed to facilitate productive negotiations, it is ultimately voluntary. If one any participant chooses to no longer continue then the collaboration stops and engagement with the coach and other team members will end. If a collaboration doesn't continue then participants will need to start all over again with a whole new team. Part of the agreement to participate includes agreement that they will continue until either a resolution is reached, or they end their relationship with their whole legal team. In respect to this, the Coach will spend significant time talking to you from the outset about whether or not the Collaborative Process is appropriate for you and your family, before you go down that path.
  • How do I get started with collaborative coaching at BRB Mediation?
    To begin collaborative coaching with BRB Mediation, simply reach out to Bianca or contact The Mediation Collective, to schedule an initial consultation.
  • What is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
    Family dispute resolution (FDR) is a process designed to help families resolve conflicts and disputes in a constructive manner, often with the assistance of a trained mediator or therapist.
  • Why should I consider family dispute resolution?
    FDR provides a safe and neutral environment for families to address issues such as divorce, parenting arrangements, property division, and communication breakdowns without resorting to lengthy court battles.
  • How does family dispute resolution work at BRB Mediation?
    At BRB Mediation, we work closely with families to facilitate productive conversations, identify common goals, and reach mutually beneficial agreements.
  • Who can benefit from family dispute resolution?
    Family dispute resolution is beneficial for divorcing couples, separated parents, extended families, and anyone facing conflicts related to family matters.
  • What are the advantages of choosing family dispute resolution over litigation?
    FDR is typically faster, less expensive, and less adversarial than going to court. It empowers families to maintain control over the decision-making process and fosters better communication and cooperation.
  • Is family dispute resolution confidential?
    Yes, confidentiality is a cornerstone of the family dispute resolution process. Discussions and agreements reached during mediation sessions are private and cannot be used against you in court.
  • How long does family dispute resolution take?
    The duration of family dispute resolution can vary depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the willingness of the parties to cooperate. Generally, it involves a series of sessions scheduled over several weeks or months.
  • What if we cannot reach an agreement through family dispute resolution?
    While the goal of FDR is to help families reach agreements, sometimes consensus cannot be reached on certain issues. In such cases, our mediators can provide guidance on alternative options, including further negotiation, support from lawyers, or the issuing of a section 60i certificate if court applications for parenting matters are needed.
  • Do children participate in family dispute resolution sessions?
    Depending on the circumstances and the children's ages, their input may be sought during mediation. However, their participation is voluntary and always conducted in a supportive and child-centered manner. Please see information child inclusive practice here >
  • How do I get started with family dispute resolution at BRB Mediation?
    To begin the family dispute resolution process with BRB Mediation, simply contact Bianca, or The Mediation Collective, to schedule an initial consultation. During this meeting, we will discuss your specific needs, explain our approach, and answer any questions you may have.
  • What is Family Therapy?
    Family therapy is a type of counseling or psychotherapy that helps families improve communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen relationships. It focuses on understanding and addressing the dynamics within the family system.
  • Why should my family consider family therapy?
    Family therapy can help families navigate challenges such as communication breakdowns, conflicts, parenting issues, divorce, grief, and transitions. It provides a safe and supportive space to address concerns and work towards positive change.
  • Who can benefit from family therapy?
    Families facing a variety of issues throughout the life cycle may benefit from participating in family therapy. Concerns may include marital conflicts, parent-child conflicts, blended family dynamics, and behavioural or emotional challenges during times of change and transition.
  • What happens during a family therapy session?
    In a family therapy session, a trained therapist facilitates discussions and activities designed to explore family dynamics, identify patterns of interaction, and develop healthier ways of relating to one another. Sessions may involve all family members or specific individuals depending on the goals of therapy.
  • How long does family therapy take?
    The duration of family therapy varies depending on the complexity of the issues, the goals of therapy, and the dynamics within the family. Some families may benefit from short-term intervention, while others may engage in therapy over a longer period.
  • Is family therapy confidential?
    Yes, confidentiality is an essential aspect of family therapy. Discussions and information shared within the therapy sessions are private and protected by confidentiality laws and ethical guidelines. For these reasons family therapy is usually not offered, nor appropriate for families that are actively engaged in court or litigated processes.
  • Do all family members need to participate in therapy?
    While the participation of all family members is ideal, it is not always necessary. Depending on the situation, the therapist may recommend sessions involving the entire family, specific subsets of family members, or individual therapy in addition to family sessions.
  • How do we know if family therapy is working?
    Progress in family therapy is often measured by improved communication, increased understanding, strengthened relationships, and the ability to navigate challenges more effectively. The therapist will regularly assess your progress and collaborate with the family to adjust treatment or change goals as needed.
  • What if there are conflicts or disagreements during family therapy sessions?
    Conflicts and disagreements are natural parts of the therapy process and provide opportunities for growth and resolution. The therapist serves as a neutral facilitator to help navigate conflicts constructively and promote understanding among family members.
  • How do we get started with family therapy at BRB Mediation?
    To begin family therapy at BRB Mediation, you can reach out to us to schedule an initial consultation or by contacting The Mediation Collective. For separated families, an initial individual consultation will usually be offered at the beginning, to discuss goals for therapy, any safety concerns and ensure it is the right process for you family at this time.
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