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<xTITLE>The Mediator, The Artist</xTITLE>

The Mediator, The Artist

by Caryn Cridland
May 2014 Caryn Cridland

When describing the mediator’s role to clients I often use the analogy of an artist.

When the mediator first enters into a conflict, they are much like a painter. They begin with a blank canvas.

As they speak to each person involved in the conflict, a new coloured brush stroke appears.  With each person’s new view or perspective, a new colour appears.

The first person the mediator speaks to may provide the colour red. The second person provides another brush stroke, orange. The third person, the brush stroke, green, and so on, until a picture appears.

The picture that appears is the combination of all brush strokes. The combination of all views amalgamating into one single picture that provides insights into what has occurred, what the individuals involved intended, and what they now desire.

After the individual discussions stage of the mediation process, often only the mediator can see the newly formed, unique, picture that has appeared through the insights of those involved in the conflict.

The mediator’s role now is to help all the individuals involved in the conflict see the vivid picture that has appeared - with all the different brush strokes.

The confidential nature of mediation means that the mediator is bound to secrecy about what she or he has uncovered.

What the mediator does instead of revealing his or her findings is to run a structured process that allows the individuals involved in the conflict to uncover the alternative brush strokes themselves.

Mediation enables the different brush strokes, the different stories that make up the one story, to be revealed, brush stroke by stroke.

Mediators use skills such as questioning techniques to expose what events mean or had meant to one individual or the other, what was intended by one action or another, and what individuals now intend upon reflection. They also seek out and focus on what each individual now desires for the future, and how this may work to jointly satisfy all those involved, as much as possible.

The beauty of mediation is the dance that illuminates the multiple stories or strokes, which so often have shared meaning, and yet those involved in the conflict haven’t yet developed the eyes to see the full picture.

Biography


Caryn Cridland is the Founder of Mindful Mediation, a specialist workplace mediation and leadership development consultancy dedicated to resolving complex conflicts involving leaders and teams, as well as developing high performance teams and leaders. Caryn’s passion is turning leadership conflict into an opportunity for the growth and development of exceptional leaders through increased self-awareness and enhanced interpersonal skills. Caryn has been training in mediation since 2002. She has over 16 years experience resolving workplace conflict, including team and multi-party mediations, facilitations, and team building.

Caryn is a Registered Psychologist (specialising in Organisational Psychology), admitted as a Solicitor, a Nationally Accredited Mediator, Leadership Consultant, Professional Speaker, Qualified Yoga and Qi Gong Teacher, and was Part-time Lecturer (University of Technology, Sydney) in Dispute Resolution for 12 years. She also has 15 years experience in leadership development (including facilitating group training sessions and one-on-one coaching on topics such as leadership style, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication, and personality). She has guest lectured for Sydney University, and Bond University, as well as provided mediation coaching for Bond University.

Mindful Mediation also trains mediators, professionals, and managers in workplace mediation, conflict resolution, leadership development, and communication skills – including mediation accreditation, basic, and advanced level training.



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