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Being Both a Mediator and Conflict Coach

Being Both a Mediator and Conflict Coach

Can a mediator be an effective conflict coach?

 

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You know, that’s another great question, because I have found that when I’m mediating, I’m mediating. When I’m coaching, I’m coaching. So, you know, it’s being able to wear two hats, and I’m usually called on, a lot of my clients are one to one and whether or not, they’re not necessarily going to mediation at all.

 

I think there’s a little bit of a myth around where coaching fits. That if you’re a mediator that you have natural skills. Loads of the same skills are there, and many mediators come with those, and they’ve been trained in them, and they’ve got innate intuition. There’s lots of great stuff happening. But in coaching you learn some other skills about asking possibility questions. You know, opening up people’s thinking so that they’re doing more thinking for themselves about how they’re planning, what they’re going to do. It’s building internal capacity and very focused on the client’s goal.

 

Mediators tend to think, ‘This person needs to resolve this, or has to have a better relationship, and how can I lead them there?’, and that’s a bit of what happens when you’re in the field a long time is everything is around trying to resolve it. I think that one of the things I wanted to add when we talked about mediators. Mediator training does not include, generally, self-reflective work, and helping mediators be very competent themselves at managing conflict. I, interestingly, have a lot of mediator clients and lawyer clients who are not managing conflict well. They’re out there doing stuff and they might even be in a mediation and then they find themselves calling me afterwards saying, ‘You know what? I knew I was really biased. I could tell, and I was really reacting to what somebody was saying. I really question my own skill here’, so lots of people stepping up saying, ‘Maybe I need to have stronger conflict management skills myself.’ including many lawyers who are constantly in the eye of conflict and going to court and other kinds of things as well, themselves, but aren’t managing it well. Realise that you’re trained in this forum, whether it’s law, or mediation, and yet you yourself don’t have that conflict management skill.

About the mediator

Cinnie Noble Profile Pic

Cinnie Noble is a lawyer, Certified Mediator and Coach based in Toronto, Ontario. Cinnie has worked in the field of ADR as a mediator for over 20 years and in 1999, she identified what she experienced as a need for one on one process to help people strengthen their skills and abilities to more effectively engage in conflict. Through considerable research, Cinnie went on to develop a unique specialty in the ADR and coaching fields. Conflict ma... View Mediator