What experience do I bring to mediation?
For over 15 years I have been successfully helping to find conflict resolution for a variety of issues. I have done this using my expertise gained from holding senior positions in HR (Human Resources) and as a commercial business director. Professionally, I have been fortunate to work in several different industries, which has allowed me to gain a wealth of experience in countless disciplines. On a personal level I am a proud mum of two, a 7- and 2-year-old, which as any parent will know is a constant stream of negotiation, patience and communication!
What is my approach to mediation?
I share an ethos which is that I proudly put people before process, and I make no apology for that. I know how important real-life experiences are and the impact that conflict can have on people’s lives both personally and professionally.
I consider myself to be a people’s person. I adopt a humanistic approach to mediation and have the softer skills required to mediate successfully. I aim to use my interpersonal skills and expertise to empower people. I want parties to the mediation to take responsibility for their own settlement, whilst remaining completely transparent and authentic. I am a strong believer in reflective practice and continued personal and professional development which I know makes me a better mediator.
Why am I passionate about Mediation?
It allows people, in a world that is engrossed in a blame culture, the opportunity to address their reasons for the conflict. With mediation being a completely confidential process, participants are in a safe and secure environment where there is no fear of repercussion.
Especially in the workplace scenarios, it allows employees the opportunity to expose their vulnerabilities and address deep routed issues, without their being a fear of them appearing weak or incapable. People often do not speak up because of the outwards appearance that they feel that they need to display in certain work cultures. This often means that, over time small niggles become big overwhelming issues.
The effect of mediation is immediate and often long lasting. Any agreement that is reached in a mediation can be either, made legal binding (by way of a settlement agreement) in a commercial mediation or a memorandum of understanding can be drawn up with an action plan, moving forward in a workplace mediation. Mediation because of its flexibility, has the power to transform people’s lives. That transformation begins in the mediation itself and creates a better future for all the participants.
The mediation process allows me to continually develop as a mediator and as a person too. Each case requires subtle adaption of mediation style and approach to the situation. It is important to react to the participants to ensure that they feel relaxed, able to open up to you, and trust you in your abilities.
In the case study below I had the pleasure of co-mediating with a colleague who had a different mediation style to me. It gave me an opportunity, by actively observing to learn different ways of reframing, exploring and questioning, which could only contribute to my own personal development. At the same time though, I was able to bring the skills described above to mediation in practice. I explore below the mediation that we conducted by way of a case study.
Workplace Mediation Case Study
Why was mediation needed?
On this occasion mediation was initiated to help resolve professional relationship issues.
Party A who had been integral to the expansion of a family business had fallen out with party B who was the son of the Managing Director. The parties had not been on good terms for at least 12 months.
As a result of Brexit, the family business had experienced significant growth in a short space of time. In response to that unexpected growth, more employees were taken on by the business. As more team members were introduced, the business failed to clearly define each team member’s roles and responsibilities. This led to confusion and miscommunication amongst team members, about who was responsible for what and how those responsibilities were managed. The team worked remotely, and the internal communication tools were not being used consistently throughout, causing frustration and a lack of trust between them.
Party A held back on acting and addressing the situation sooner because they believed that Party B was "untouchable" because of his relationship with the MD.
How did the mediation work?
Mediation is a flexible process. Often with cases like these the mediation can be held over a series of sessions. On this occasion, the mediation took place over a period of 6 hours. Part of the time was spent on listening and understanding the issues, providing a voice and an equal platform for each party to express their feelings.
With my co-mediator I worked on re-building the relationship during the second half of the mediation. A key element was to re-build the communication strategy and to share and understand the individual value each participant brought to the family business.
The time at the mediation was used to start the process of fixing a seemingly broken professional relationship. The mediation process enabled two people that had not managed to look one another in the eye or speak to each other for over 12 months, to be in the same room, smiling, laughing, appreciating one another's value within the business.
On our follow-up call, both mediators were pleased to hear that the parties had already communicated on the phone that morning - the first time in over 12 months. The mediation had been a success. It had helped the parties to re-build their relationships in a confidential and flexible environment and had been truly transformative.
I have a wealth of experience which includes:
· Family conflict in family businesses
· Disputes arising from Management styles
· Conflict arising from poor communication
· Unclear role boundaries
· Different working styles
· Personality clashes
· Managerial conflicts either between each other or with shareholders
· Issues relating to harassment or bullying
· Commercial/Civil Disputes
I typically work with individuals, small and medium sized enterprises, family run businesses, sole traders, charities and non-profits, local authorities, and local professionals.
If you would like to have a short, informal chat about your next mediation please feel free to get in touch.