Mediators: Choosing a mediator

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Mediators: Choosing the right one.

Looking for mediators? Choosing the “right” mediator, like choosing any other professional, can be difficult.  Let me give some tips and information to help with your decision-making.  Finding  mediators that matches you and your needs can make all the difference.

Governing bodies and training.

To possess the designation of “Mediator” certain training must be done.  Lawyers, perhaps not all, have training specific to mediation.  A person would have to ask specifically if their lawyer does mediation. Not all do.

I am a professional mediator.  I received all my training  from Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Institute of Canada.  I am held to professional standards from that group.  As a Qualified Mediator I have received significant (60+) hours of instruction, skill development, and assessment.   This training is specific to mediation skills, conflict resolution and communication skills.  Annual training opportunities are provided.  I do this to help me keep current and to refine my skills.

What skills do Mediator have?

Mediators possess many skills.  Skills that help people express their concerns and desires in a clear and helpful way.  

First, I consider mediators to be “professional listeners”.  I listen to people with an open and curious mind.  I really do want to find out what is causing the conflict.  And the points of view of each person. I do that by listening to what they say without judging.

Second, mediators practice asking good questions.  This is more difficult than it seems.  A good questions can do several things.  A good question helps clients:

           * think about what is really bothering them

           * clarify and identify issues that are truly important

           * encourage them to think about options and alternative

Simply put, asking a good question will help clients change how they look at a problem.  Helping them move from a negative thought to a positive thought.

The most important thing I can do, is to help people move forward.  Find an option that resolves their conflict.

 

How do I find a Mediator?

Well, you’ve found one right here.  

Or, go to ADR Institute of Canada website.  There you will find a prompt that will guide to a list of mediators found in your area.  

Other than that, do a google search, find a list of lawyers in your area.  Regardless of how you find a mediator I would strongly suggest that before hiring, have a conversation with that person.  I offer free first-time conversations all the time.  It is important the both the mediator and potential client can have a positive working relationship.

 

 

Dispute Mediation: Listening with Empathy

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DISPUTE MEDIATION: Part Three – What are the benefits of Empathic Listening during the mediation process?

Welcome! This is the third and final blog series about Empathic Listening.  The previous two blogs gave a general overview of skills and then a brief application of those skills.  With this final blog, I will outline benefits of empathic listening.  Benefits for you during a dispute mediation. Benefits to enhance your relationships in general.  As the above quote suggests.  Most people during difficult conversations spend time thinking about how they will respond.  Instead, people should be listening to what the other person is trying to tell them.

Remember, listening with empathy means that you want to “check up” on what you are hearing.  You want to check that you are understanding what is actually being said.  You are checking to confirm the point of view of the other person.  You do this by: paraphrasing, re-stating, clarifying or just being curious about what the other person is saying.  To borrow from Steven Covey; you want to “listen with your heart.”  

Why should I listen with empathy?

I think the question here is: What’s in it for me?  What’s the benefit?  Without being self-centered – these are good questions.  There are lots of “pay-offs” for improving your listening skills.  Especially when you find yourself in conflict.

  • Reduced misunderstandings:  Misunderstanding often leads to more conflict.  Think about it.  How many times have you become angry because you felt misunderstood?  What happens to the communication level?
  • Increased respect:  It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable!  It requires both parties to listen for understanding…….not for blaming.  It is very difficult for people to talk openly when they feel under attack.  When under attack people will start to defend.  When attacking and defending……..what’s happening to the issue(s)?…..to the understanding?………to the communication?
  • Demonstrated trust: Rather than just going through the motions – listening with the intent to understand demonstrates a willingness to trust.  Trying to understand shows that you are willing to trust and to be trusted. It may be difficult at first…….but…….once a level of trusting and trustworthiness is established, communication will increase.

So, what’s my point?

So, what’s the point of this series?  Empathic listening can be a valuable skill for those involved in a dispute mediation.  It can be valuable and helpful tool to reach a resolution to disputes.  Developing the skill to listen with empathy can help improve any relationship; family, personal or professional.  It only take time, knowledge and commitment.

Remember; when people find themselves in conflict, the usual response is to blame or to defend.  Preferring to listen with the intent to respond.  Next time you are faced with a conflict try to listen to understand.  Listen to understand the other point of view.  Listen to hear their “story”.   It really is a question of respect.  When someone feels respected and listened to….what happens to the conflict may surprise you!

Miles

I am a mediator in Medicine Hat.  Please contact me at 403-952-8752, or at mtmediate@gmail.com.