We bring a number of personal qualities to mediation. Individually, these qualities may not seem exceptional—although they are less common than you might think. Used in combination, however, they enable us to show people caught up in conflict the way to resolve their differences.
We are optimistic
There are a couple of reasons for our optimism. We believe that:-
- Conflict need not be negative. When people disagree strongly, it is healthier to address the problem than to avoid it. Of course, it is healthiest to address the problem calmly and objectively. Many people find this difficult, so instead they pretend to agree. But denying the problem only pushes it underground. When it inevitably erupts, calm and objective dialogue seems impossible. We show people how to recover the calmness and objectivity they need to address their conflict in a positive manner.
- Conflict offers rich opportunities to learn. The opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and how we can better relate to others. The opportunity to reflect on our behaviour, and how it may have contributed to the disagreement. The opportunity to learn the role our emotions play in conflict. The opportunity to learn collaborative problem solving techniques, and put them into practice. We work with our clients to transfer as much of our knowledge of conflict resolution as possible.
We are empathic
- We know how conflict feels. We’ve been there ourselves. Having worked in large organisations, we know there are times when you can feel disempowered or devalued. Having been caught up in the heat of an argument, we know how emotion can overwhelm common sense. So we understand how difficult it can be to admit that you’re in conflict, and that you need assistance. Because we have been where you are, and have learned from our experiences, we can show you the way to resolve your current dispute.
- If you are caught up in a conflict we focus on your needs, rather than on achieving a settlement. Pushing people to agree before they are ready never works. By building rapport with all parties involved, and by modelling truthful communication, we show them that there are alternative ways to work through their conflict. Alternatives that lead, in due course, to greater shared clarity and mutual understanding.
We are responsive
You are unique. An approach that works for you may not work for someone else. An approach that works with one organisation may not work with another, however similar they appear. So we respond to your needs. We tailor our approach to the realities of your organisation, your life experience, and your emotional state. We take you as far as you wish to go. And we respect your confidences.
We are practical
During mediation, we guide participants through a set of incremental processes, developing their ability to:
- Identify their needs and emotions
- Separate fact from emotion, allowing them to put forward their views without allocating blame
- Express their needs and emotions to someone they regard as hostile to them, in a way that makes it easier for that person to hear what is being said
- Listen while the other person expresses his or her needs and emotions
- Paraphrase their understanding of the other person’s point of view, so they know they have been heard
- Develop a shared appreciation of the events that led to the conflict
- Identify needs and emotions that all participants share in common
- Identify the core issues which they need to resolve
- Work together to develop sustainable solutions to their shared problem
We are systemic
Conflict does not arise in isolation. The risk of conflict is heightened when people are working under stress, when they lack developmental opportunities, when they feel unacknowledged. Any conflict can point the systemic issues that the organisation as a whole may choose to address. After mediation, we can provide feedback to the key leaders in your organisation. During our conversations with your people, we may identify systemic organisational issues that have contributed to the conflict. We may identify developmental needs which have not been met. Coming from outside your organisation, we may perceive issues that have escaped your attention–not because we are any wiser, but simply because we see the situation through a fresh set of eyes. We offer a range of consulting services that can help you build a more resilient and innovative organisation.
We are flexible
Firstly, we come to you. There are a number of people with whom we consult during the course of a mediation, and by attending your workplace, we minimise the disruption on their working day. At the same time, we require the use of a private meeting room, and a sense of discretion from all parties involved. Only those with a need to know should be aware that a mediation is taking place.
Secondly, we structure the mediation to ensure the best possible outcome. Traditionally, a mediation process will be run over one day, with interviews in the morning, and the mediation itself in the afternoon. This is seen as efficient. It is certainly more cost-effective, both for you and for us. However, it does not always yield the best results. During the pre-mediation interviews, a range of emotions may surface–or fail to surface. Sometimes, people need time to come to terms with their feelings before they can approach the mediation session with an open mind and an open heart.
In such situations, we would recommend splitting the process over two days, to allow people time to process their feelings. If necessary, we can undertake additional preparatory work with one or both parties, to help them gain all they can from the mediation session.
You are most likely reading this page because you are in conflict, or you know someone who is. So contact us now to learn more about our mediation and consulting services.