A quarter century ago, Professor Leonard Riskin published an article describing a grid of mediator orientiations including a facilitative-evaluative dimension.  Despite critiques of this framework, including by Riskin himself, many mediators, trainers, and teachers still use these concepts as mediation models, expressing strong feelings that one model is good and the other is bad. These…

ICC’s biggest educational event of the year, its International Mediation Competition, took place from 5 to 11 February 2021 and, for the first time of its history, it was conducted online. It was its 16th edition and 48 universities from 39 countries competed online, via a dedicated platform. It has been an opportunity for us,…

I wrote this piece for Strathclyde Mediation Clinic after a series of conversations with new and learner mediators. Some surprised me with their passivity in the face of parties’ lack of knowledge or understanding. After some probing I learned that many new mediators recognise the problem but believe the model they were taught prohibits them…

  Kindergarten and conflict – Pre-school leadership in conflict resolution. Becoming a devoted Grandma has been a surprising and enriching learning experience for me. The early childhood teaching and learning regime in Australia (and across the world) is truly remarkable and is revolutionising how children engage with the world. An important element of this is…

“Hi, I’m Rick. I’m your mediator for today. I can’t decide what happens in this dumb dispute or how you resolve issues. My job is just to help people who are incapable of resolving conflict, like yourselves, find areas that you can agree on. That means I get to control what appears in the messages,…

Time Limited Mediation

“It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.” William of Ockham A colleague recently asked me to present a workshop to employment mediators on ‘Time Limited Mediation.’ Until that moment, like Molière’s bourgeois gentleman realising he’s been speaking prose all his life, it hadn’t occurred to me that this was…

“I hold to the idea that civility, understood as the willingness to engage in public discourse, is the first virtue of citizens.” Mark Kingwell, The World We Want: Restoring Citizenship in a Fractured Age, [Rowman & Littlefield, 2000] A recent email from a US-based group that specialises in facilitating public dialogues in difficult cases noted…

(This post is being republished because of technical problems when it was first published.) One of the key debates among mediators centres on the word ‘evaluation’. I’ve written about this before – see Has the evaluative label outlived its usefulness? I’m sure many readers are familiar, even bored, with the claimed polarity between facilitative and…

Try this thought experiment: imagine a mediator without empathy. How and what would they do? Would there be drawbacks? Benefits? The response to these questions probably depends on our own experience of empathy. This simple yet often misunderstood term masks a complex and fascinating set of ideas about human connection. Because we believe empathy is…

Greg Bond’s recent post on mediation cultures reminded me of an encounter I had with a group of mediators several years ago. Allow me to share with you my recollection of what happened. I was conducting a workshop on international and intercultural approaches to mediation for 15 freshly-minted mediators from a European country — all…