Restorative conversation guide

Learn about the eight steps of a restorative conversation.

1. Ask for permission

“Do you have a moment to talk?”

“When would be a good time to talk?”

It’s important to pay attention to timing for difficult conversations, and to check that the timing works for the other person.

2. Include affirmation

“I really appreciate when you/how you...”

Strengths-based solutions and positive affirmations contribute to smoother and more impactful conversations.

3. Understand the issue or episode

“I want to talk to you about (name incident/issue) because (name one or two primary impacts on you).”

“What happened?”

"What information do we both still need to know?"

Briefly identify the issue you want to discuss and why, and then explore the experience of the other person.

4. Identify impacts

“What is going on for you?”

“How are you feeling about_____?”

“What are your thoughts on_____?”

"I've noticed the following impacts on myself and others_____."

Identifying and observing impacts can allow you to address the issue without entering an adversarial space. Rather than making an argument and trying to prove it, seek together to understand how the issue is affecting you both, as well as those around you.

5. Identify needs

“It sounds like you need _____ and I need_____.”

Notice and identify what the underlying needs may be. They may even be the same (i.e. autonomy, appreciation, respect).

6. Look for a way to repair

“What needs to happen to make this better?”

“How can we repair the harm caused from this issue?”

Remember to be creative! The first possible solutions may not be the best ones.

Repair ideas may meet emotional or moral needs, or they may be more material in nature.

7. Prevention

“What needs to happen to make sure this doesn't happen again?”

Integrate your learning. How can you keep this from reoccurring?

8. Reach agreement and acknowledge

“What have we agreed upon?”

“Thank you!”

Be sure to confirm the agreement you’ve reached – make sure both people are walking away with the same understanding.

Acknowledge that difficult conversations are just that, difficult. Thank the person for participating in it with you respectfully.

Reproduced with permission from Aspen Restorative Consulting.