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Mediation

People seeking or interested in mediation are often struggling with a conflict, need a decision made or a situation resolved, or they may have a fractured relationship. Alternatively, if you are interested in mediation, you may simply need some temporary help communicating. There could be a long history with those involved in a mediation case that calls for some ongoing work. You may be looking for a mediator for other parties, or you may be in a crisis yourself. People in conflict are often anxious or in pain and may be confused about their choices around how to proceed.

I can assist with all of these challenges and more. A first step is a no-fee conversation with me about your situation and how I might be able to help. We can also talk about what could reduce your immediate discomfort. Generally, if continuing to assist, I’m going to need to speak with the other party as well. Then, while consulting both of you, I build a mediation process that suits your needs.

Some basic facts:

  • There is preparation for mediation which includes ensuring that mediation is a good process for those involved. This preparation is called Pre-Mediation.
  • Preparation also gets you ready to communicate with the other party.
  • There is a signed agreement to participate that sets out the confidentiality terms and other simple requirements (these are sometimes customized for particular situations)
  • You need a chance to get to know me so you can decide if you are comfortable with me as the mediator.
  • Mediation is frequently conducted in several three-hour sessions. Time passes quickly in mediation.
  • Mediation is quite hard work.
  • Mediation offers the possibility of reaching a settlement and satisfactory relations with the other party. It is often an opportunity to grow as a person and if you have your personal development as one of your goals, it will increase the likelihood of meaningful resolution or improved working relationship.
  • Principles and practices of restorative justice inform how I practice mediation.
  • When the primary issue is a working relationship then “Facilitated Conversation” is another term sometimes used in place of “Mediation.”
  • If there are significant legal dimensions to the issues it is usually helpful to have lawyers involved. This can be set up in many different ways depending on the situation. Lawyers may or may not attend mediation.

The following are some of the many situations in which I have assisted clients:

  • Working relationships and team relationships
  • Government negotiations
  • Multi-party consensus building
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Commercial and contract disputes
  • Grievances
  • Business partnership disputes
  • Indigenous community issues
  • Multi-generational family troubles
  • Construction

Whatever the context, it is important to have some clarity about the purpose of mediation and what the end result will look like.

Facilitation

When you are part of a group or you are responsible for a group, facilitation becomes relevant. Even without any group challenges you probably want to maximize the innovative and creative potential of the group – and the enjoyment of working together. Building a self-sufficient group facilitation capacity is a way to do this.

But let’s put aside the no-challenge situation for now because if you are reading this page you’re probably here because of a challenge that you might bring to my attention. The conflict settling practices of mediation can be part of group facilitation, but there are some additional considerations as well, such as how to create meaningful participation of everyone, how to ensure everyone’s input is heard and considered, how to communicate with constituencies, how to reach a consensus when there are some very different viewpoints being expressed, and how to work with challenging personalities that may be present.

I’m interested in your group situation so contact me if you would like to have conversation about your goals, the groups’ dynamics, and some possible ways to harness the constructive potential of the group towards addressing issues on which you need progress. Facilitation includes both in-person and videoconference possibilities.

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