Sometimes I wonder what the facilitation and mediation work I do is all about. By which I mean what purpose does it perform for clients. What is it that they are asking for from me, and what is it that they actually get? Do they always really want what they are ostensibly asking for? Do…

One of the positive aspects of the enforced changes brought about by lockdown is that it enables – or compels – us to try new things. So far, I’ve learned how to create and have issued 13 podcasts, the idea being to spread ideas as widely as possible at this crucial time. After much procrastination,…

Ten weeks ago, I had barely heard of Zoom. At that time, I was fairly sceptical about online mediation in the kind of cases I do. It could never substitute for face to face meetings with their intimacy and candour. Or so I thought. I have recently undertaken a number of mediations using Zoom. It…

Recap: The Alchemy of Mediation, Part 1: actions to outcomes training exercise In this part we explored what little information, context and insight the actions of each of us provide for the other. In our example, it seems that while we were each comfortable with doing what the other did in the morning (the actions),…

The Singapore Convention on Mediation makes clear that international mediated settlement agreements (iMSAs) may be used as a sword or invoked as a shield in judicial or arbitral proceedings (defence). In the post-Singapore Convention world, lawyers are looking closely at the extent to which courts may recognise settlement agreements, especially mediated settlement agreements, as a…

Stop apologising

(This blog is adapted from a longer version published by Prof John Lande as part of Theories of Change for the Dispute Resolution Movement: Actionable Ideas to Revitalize Our Movement. The Theory of Change symposium asked mediators and scholars to think big about their dreams and visions for the future, and was recently published on…

Photo credit: Creative Commons Jean M.Mas 2/2007 Although my mediation training made no mention of it, 32 years of mediating have taught me that mediations generally unfold over two stages: Stage 1: “Who Did What to Whom”? Here parties (or their lawyers) follow the ritual of naming, blaming and claiming – recounting facts, providing evidence…

“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…

The word “manipulation” has a bad name. It is usually used to denote devious and underhand behaviour. If we say that someone is being manipulative or that someone is a manipulative person then we are usually disapproving. Mediators are manipulators, and master mediators are master manipulators. I respond here to Rick Weiler’s recent post, in…