In marketing a professional service, remember you are your brand.
Interviews done by Jeff Kichaven and the research done by the MATA folks, reveal some of the qualities people look for in a mediator. I have posted about them before:
Integrity — if you say that you will keep something in confidence, do not breach the trust placed in you.
Optimism — mediators become valuable when the parties are at an impasse, if they could work out a solution on their own, they would not need you. Be that candle in the darkness that a resolution is possible.
Humor — the ability to add some levity to a tense situation and put people at ease is helpful.
There is another quality that I have discovered is important — the ability to confront. This one is difficult. A good source of learning on this are the two Crucial Conversations books.
If you can use questions so that you can guide people to their own conclusions, they are less likely to resist confronting what needs to be confronted.
I am also reminded of one of the insights that John Sands (one of the mediators I had interviewed for the Mediation Business & Marketing Success System) had: he said that he realized that he could not seek to be loved as a mediator or to try to get everyone to like him. A mediator’s job is to be omni-partial to everyone; yet, as a facilitator people are not going to love you — they may even intensely dislike you. That has to be ok with you.
The more comfortable I become in being assertive and confronting difficult behavior — the less I care whether people like me. In rejecting a reality they may reject the facilitator.
Mediators are leaders — you lead people to confront difficult issues, to take responsibility and perhaps to grow and resolve a difficult situation.
I am reminded of one of John Maxwell’s sayings: People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
The above strategies and skills must be tempered with caring. If you genuinely care for others and seek to be gentle and compassionate with people — yet, tough on the problems, you will be pursuing the important calling of this work.
As we fail and learn from our experiences — we grow.
For a really excellent video on creating your personal brand, check out Dr. Lois P. Frankel’s web site and video. She is talking to women but the concepts apply equally to men. The video excerpt relates to “Women Expand Your Wallet.” She uses WALLET as an acronym and discusses how developing your personal brand is key to success.
I’ve been checking out her books on women’s leadership.
Don’t Give UP! Keep on keeping on, the world needs you.