The hills above Edinburgh, Scotland, were bursting with the splendor of bright yellow flowers when mediators from across the globe assembled for the spring conference of the International Academy of Mediators. I had been asked by the conference organizers to lead a discussion, with the goal of inspiring some of the world’s most successful commercial…

“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…

It may seem odd to suggest that a funeral and a book festival could, in the space of a few days, provide sources for a lot of reflection and – just possibly – mediation-related insight. Recently I flew from Auckland to Wellington to attend, and speak at, the funeral for a friend I’d known for…

Troubling trends observed as an Ontario commercial mediator compel me to once again take up my chiclet-keyed sabre. That the following are indeed trends in commercial mediation in Ontario is unsupported by any reliable data – because no one keeps track. No one records. It’s all anecdotal. Still, I’m now closing in on 30 years…

Much has been said and written about the demise of the joint meeting in mediation. In my experience, such a view is premature and, I fear, is potentially wasteful of the power that mediation brings for creative problem-solving. I am also aware of how much the clients and others appreciate a creative approach to the…

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…

Recently, I was ruminating about analogies between cricket and mediation. Cricket is a much-loved sport in Scotland. Sadly, nowadays, changes in the climate mean that cricket in my home country is more often affected by summer rain and damp conditions than a generation ago. Its future is less certain as a result. I have always…

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…

Mediation can sometimes be a lonely business – in one very specific way: when there is no or little qualified feedback and shared reflection. When I teach and train, I always get some feedback and often I get very precise feedback, and sometimes very warm and encouraging feedback. When I mediate disputes or moderate strategy…

I am travelling back from a couple of days in and around Dublin, discussing an initiative on respectful political dialogue with politicians, academics and conflict resolution professionals. It was a privilege to spend time at Glencree, the centre for peace and reconciliation which was one of those places where so much was done in recent…