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Lemons to Lemonade

Resolving Problems in Meetings, Workshops, and PLCs

No more unproductive meetings! Find out how to keep discussions on track, squash conflict without wounding pride, and deal with interruptions, disputes, and other time wasters.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452261010
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 200
  • Publication date: June 20, 2013

Price: $26.95

Price: $26.95
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No more unproductive meetings! The complete guide to getting the most out of every gathering of educators.

Do your meetings spiral angrily out of control? Or simply not make the most of the participants’ talents? Lemons to Lemonade by Robert J. Garmston and Diane P. Zimmerman is the playbook you need to promote civil, productive discourse, detailing:

  • How to prepare yourself to facilitate the discussion and keep it on task
  • Best practices for squashing conflict without wounding pride
  • Methods for dealing with “frowners,” “interrupters,” “subject-changers,” “humorists,” and other time-waster types

With this book, you will never waste another opportunity for problems to get solved by the combined powers of capable minds. Take a look at the facilitator proficiency scale.

“Garmston and Zimmerman have written a book that is the perfect blending of theory and research with very practical, user-ready techniques for facilitating meetings AND for dealing with specific challenges. I would LOVE to see this kind of training offered for administrators!”
—David Chojnacki, Executive Director
Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools

Key features

The techniques outlined in this book are organized from novice to expert, providing interventions for all kinds of meeting snafus. While this is essentially a how-to book, we want to stress the importance of personal wisdom—your own experiences and reflections.

This book encourages positive interventions on the part of the facilitator. To intervene means to take action in order to change what is happening or might happen in order to prevent counterproductive behaviors and increase group productivity and learning. It offers multiple solutions to help facilitators increase their intervention repertoires and chances for success.

From Lemons to Lemonade will aid in resurrecting the positive energy and good will that should pervade group settings. Readers will be able to anticipate and prevent problems before they occur and gain confidence in addressing those that still sneak in the door. Time will be used more effectively. Greater senses of positivity will prevail. Groups will gain faith in their own power to make a difference in their work.



Robert J. Garmston photo

Robert J. Garmston

Robert J. Garmston is Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration at California State University, Sacramento. He is co-developer of Cognitive Coaching with Art Costa and co-developer of Adaptive Schools with Bruce Wellman. He has worked as an educational consultant and made presentations and conducted workshops for teachers, administrators, and staff developers on leadership, learning, and personal and organizational development in twenty-four countries on five continents. Formerly an administrator and teacher in Saudi Arabia and the United States, his work has been translated into Arabic, Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. Bob lives in El Dorado Hills, California, near his five children and five (bright and cute) grandchildren.

Diane P. Zimmerman photo

Diane P. Zimmerman

DIANE P. ZIMMERMAN, Ph.D. is a writer and consultant focusing on entrepreneurial learning and schools that make a difference. She obtained her Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development from the Fielding Graduate Institute. She recently retired as a superintendent of schools after a 36-year career in education that was rich in leadership, facilitation and conflict management.

Trained originally as a speech therapist, Diane worked early in her career as a teacher, speech therapist, program manager, and Assistant Director of Special Education in Fairfield, California. She subsequently became a principal in Davis, California and served consecutively in two schools over 13 years before being promoted to Assistant Superintendent for Personnel. In 2002, she began a nine-year journey as a superintendent of Old Adobe School Union School District, a small suburban elementary school district in Petaluma, California. She prides herself in moving the district’s teachers from contentious union interactions to cooperative collaborations as productive, interest-based educators who collectively set the highest standards possible for their school district.

Diane has been an active in professional development all of her career. While obtaining her administrative credential, Diane was assigned to Bob Garmston as her intern coach. This early career interaction turned into a life-long intellectual partnership and Diane joined the Cognitive Coaching consulting consortium founded by Bob Garmston and Art Costa.

Diane has taught in administrative training programs at several northern California universities and over the past 20 years has written and consulted in the areas of Cognitive Coaching, teacher supervision and evaluation, facilitation, stages of adult development, assessment of leadership skills, and constructivist leadership.

Leadership and mediation of conflict has always been a part of Diane’s life. She was encouraged to assume leadership roles throughout her career, from early work supervising in a family restaurant business, to her first teaching job in a new special education program, through her years as a principal. Throughout her career, she has been involved in handling divergent opinions and mediating conflict. She gained a substantive reputation as the “in house” expert in facilitation and her staff valued her ability to create learning communities long before “professional learning communities” were popularized

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the Authors


To Intercede Is To Lead

Why Read This Book

Problem Locater

Chapter 1. The Novice to Expert Journey

We All Begin as Novices

Accomplished Means Competent





Highly Accomplished Expert

Proficiency Scale

Attributes of the Expert

Chapter 2. Building Personal Confidence

Connecting Mind and Body

1. Breathe

2. Try Progressive Relaxation

3. Walk

4. Center Yourself Physically

5. Over Prepare. Over Prepare

6. Address the Stress of Conflict

7. Check Your Negative Predictions at the Door

8. When Stuck, Move

9. Maintain Your Identity as a Facilitator

10. Monitor Your Need to Know

11. Take Care to Arrange the Room

12. Create a "Circle of Excellence"

Chapter 3. Intervention Principles

Principles Guide Decisions

1. Compassion

2. Precise Language

3. Congruence

4. From Low to High Risk

Chapter 4. Deciding to Intervene

Establish Meeting Standards

Set Working Agreements

Evaluate Working Agreements

Clarify Tasks

Intervene as Necessary

Deciding to Intervene with an Ad Hoc Group

Intervening Preemptively

1. Is the Agenda Relevant?

Plan the Beginning

Cluster Reports

Mix Strategies

2. Is Engery Waning?

Around the Room and Back Again

Card Partners

The Card Stack and Shuffle

3. Are Emotions Ratcheting Up?

First Turn/Last Turn

4. Might the Group be Heading Toward Conflict?


Deciding When to Intervene

1. Is Intervening Important?

2. Am I the Best Person to Intervene?

3. Are My Observations Accurate?

4. Will It Be Quick or Take Time?

5. Can the Group Learn From It?

Chapter 5. Common Group Issues

Getting Attention

Attention First


Common Signal

Physical Proximity

Verbal Proximity

Redirecting Engagement

Join a Whole Table That is Off Task

Refocus Serial Storytelling

When Workflow is Hampered

Address a Refusal to Follow Directions

Assist with Difficulty Transitioning

Address Uneven Finishes with Group Work

Engergize a Quiet Group

Managing Your Emotions

Positional Thinking--Power Struggles

From Positions to Interest

Chapter 6. Managing Common Challenges

Low Engagement




Silent Participants



Distruptive Group Members

Broken Records

Long-winded Speakers


Inappropriate Humorists

Latecomers and Early Leavers


Side Talkers






Cell Phones and Texting

Chapter 7. Strategies for Advanced Facilitation

1. Group Conflict


Existing State--Desired State

2. Demoralizing External Events

Desired State

Third Point

Redirect Resistance

Pace and Lead

Structured Interviews

3. Disputes

Stop the Dispute Early

Verbalize the Issue

Acknowledge Each Position

Identify the Sources of Information

Check Perceptions

Reframe the Conflict as an Asset

4. Dissenting Views

Paraphrase Partner

Pace the Emotion

Redirect the Attack

Reframe the Opposition

Help Groups Utilize Styles

Assumptions Wall

Brainstorm Questions

Disperse to Agree

5. Personal Attacks

The Six-Step Response

Step Between Opposing Members

Change the Narrative

Enlist the Group in Solving the Problem

6. Challenges to the Leader

Process Commercial

Engage With More Intensity

Engage With Less Intensity

Request Civility

7. Subgroup Manipulation

Decision Matrix

Values Decision Matrix

Require a Quorum

Pace, Lead and Poll

One-Minute Advocacy

Alternate Microphone Advocacy

8. Sabotage

9. Irresolvable Conflict

Polarity Management



Price: $26.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.