I’m not often drawn to practical tips. I once discovered that I am an “activist” learner. This apparently means that I learn best when “thrown in at the deep end” and less well when “absorbing and understanding data” (see http://archive.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=152477 for a description of learning styles and http://www.peterhoney.com for a self-evaluation test). It perhaps explains…

Sometimes, I look around at mediation events at a sea of grey hair (mine included!). Where, I wonder, are those to whom we are handing this torch? And more importantly, what do they think? So as the dust settled on last month’s ICC mediation competition in Paris, I took the chance to capture some of…

Interesting ripples on the interweb about mediator ‘styles’ – (see the LinkedIn group ‘ADR, Conflict Resolution and Mediation Exchange’). One discussion thread was prompted by a nice ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ question: can a mediator have any style or does the style vary from situation to situation? The discussion has ranged from styles to models, with…

I read a long time ago that lessons for life can be found everywhere as long as we look for them. As with many of these quotes that we read, my response was to nod sagaciously, file it away for future reference and then forget all about it. I was driving the other day, about…

In this posting I want to reflect on how, as a mediator, I’ve learnt much from the related but independent conflict management process, called conflict coaching. Before I get ahead of myself, however, let me start by offering an explanation of conflict coaching. Conflict coaching is a service provided by a conflict specialist to a…

Mediators often talk about the power of framing their own language and reframing the language of parties and others in mediation settings. For example, mediators may frame their comments in neutral, constructive and future-focused language. They may reframe party statements to detoxify offensive or destructive language or to create a shift from the negative to…

The Problem You have become accustomed to communicating settlement offers through email; Your email efforts have been misunderstood by the other side;   In the fast-paced world in which we live, it is easy to get caught up in communicating through electronic channels such as the BlackBerry or the iPhone so that your message is…

Part of my misspent youth was spent on immersing myself in reading about, taking trainings in and practicing Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Over the years, NLP has affected my thinking about and approach to my training and practice of mediation. Some readers may not be familiar with NLP. I will provide a, necessarily, brief background here…

This week the 5th World Summit on Elder Mediation is taking place in Glasgow: see http://www.eldermediation.ca/styled-2/index.html. It is an inspiring gathering, bringing together mediators from Canada, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, England and Scotland, all committed to helping older people deal with conflict in a way that is humane and just. The range of issues is daunting…

I have in previous posts referred to the distinction between direct and indirect forms of communication. Mediators will certainly have encountered these forms of communication before. Without seeking to offer a comprehensive or technical definition of what direct and indirect communication is, I would like to share some thoughts on this topic. First, it is…