OBJECTIVE: The aims of this paper are to provide a description of the principles of chronic condition self-management, common approaches to support currently used in Australian health services, and benefits and challenges associated with using these approaches. METHODS: We examined literature in this field in Australia and drew also from our own practice experience of implementing these approaches and providing education and training to primary health care professionals and organizations in the field. RESULTS: Using common examples of programs, advantages and disadvantages of peer-led groups (Stanford Courses), care planning (The Flinders Program), a brief primary care approach (the 5As), motivational interviewing and health coaching are explored. CONCLUSIONS: There are a number of common approaches used to enhance self-management. No one approach is superior to other approaches; in fact, they are often complimentary. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The nature and context for patients' contact with services, and patients' specific needs and preferences are what must be considered when deciding on the most appropriate support mode to effectively engage patients and promote self-management. Choice of approach will also be determined by organizational factors and service structures. Whatever self-management support approaches used, of importance is how health services work together to provide support.