“What’s the point?” asked the preacher, rhetorically. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” was his text, taken from Ecclesiastes, an Old Testament book apparently attributed to Solomon, whose wisdom we have all heard about over the years. The child and two women each laying claim to being the mother – and all that. What profit…

Values drive practice

(I first wrote about mediation’s values 12 years ago at the tail end of a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies.(1) Two years of study had convinced me that it is our values, rather than the techniques we learn, that tell us what to do and say when when mediating. The intervening years haven’t…

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill Improving Habit of Thinking The popular quote attributed to the former British prime minister is easily adaptable to mediation. The optimistic mediator considers the mediated settlement probable and helps the parties by spreading the friendly and promising…

good mediation seen through a client's lens

“Like poets, but with less time” The Deep End Getting to grips with mediation can leave students and trainees overwhelmed. That favourite training tool, the roleplay, throws most in at the deep end. The sudden immersion forces them to speak, listen and observe while trying to remember models and skills plus a sea of reading…

As the global mediation community anxiously awaits the annual ICC mediation competition to be held in Paris next week, many students from universities around the world will be putting the finishing touches to newly acquired mediation skills and all-important competition strategies. For my part, coming to Paris as a member of the competition faculty is…

The old guy smiled. His old Corsican eyes showed some understanding…: “How much do you have?” -“I have a ten euro bill and we are leaving tomorrow…” – “OK, boy, deal…but no receipt, right?” Not understanding the shadow economy at the time, I accepted without knowing why is he not willing to give me a…

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso. Last month I travelled to Edinburgh for the International Academy of Mediators conference, chaired and hosted by John Sturrock. The theme of the conference was “Looking outward – mediation: a new enlightenment?” Not only was…

I write this in the aftermath of the really uplifting and wonderfully diverse conference which I had the privilege to host and chair recently in my home city, under the auspices of the International Academy of Mediators. Nearly 120 mediators from over 20 countries attended and shared deep discussions about how we as mediators can…

It’s not easy to blog once a month, even on a subject I love. Often I sit down to write with no real ideas or inspiration. Sometimes I end up that way too (as you may have noticed!). It becomes easy to dread the approach of my monthly publication date. Often the pressure lies in…

At the start of another year, it can be useful to conduct a bit of a personal stock-take. What holds us back from achieving all we could this year? How many of us suffer from silent self-doubt? How many of us would admit to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and uncertainty about what we do? Far…