What do mediators have in common with the Maytag repairman?
Both can be lonely jobs. That’s one reason why we created a new way for family or workplace mediators to interact: Learning Circles! I’ll share the outcomes from the first calls in two posts. First, the Family Learning Circle, then the Workplace Circle.
Everyone Teaching everybody to Fish
A Learning Circle is a group of people with like interests who gather to gain knowledge together. What makes it different than a tele-seminar or group coaching is that members teach each other and facilitate their own learning.
In each circle the members decide what topics to address and then develop short ‘lesson plans’ to share with each other. Everyone benefits: the teacher deepens his or her own personal skills and resources by researching and presenting the topic and, members expand their expertise on a variety of niche-specific or marketing topics. It’s a new twist on the old saying, “two heads are better than one”.
Family Learning Circle
Family mediation is one of the most widely known niches in mediation. Our Circle members, who met today for the first time, practice primarily as divorce and elder care mediators. Besides deciding on the logistics of the calls (we meet the first Friday of every month, the group explored expanding the meaning of family mediation to beyond divorce to include things like relationship mediation (think: mother/daughter disputes).
The conversation really got interesting when we considered a unique niche: lifespan mediation. We’re defining this as offering services for the lifespan of the dispute. For example, offering mediation based on changing milestones within a family’s post-divorce life like when the kids hit puberty, or when college decisions have to be made. It was fascinating and highlighted a dilemma most mediators face- generating repeat business.
This Circle plans to present on such cool topics as the pros/cons/differences of mediating by phone; building a marriage mediation practice; multi-generational mediations and which networking groups work best for mediators. If this call is any indication, it’s gonna be a very productive and informative six months.
Sound good? A Learning circle might be the solution to your marketing troubles. Do you want to meet interesting people; brainstorm new markets to conquer; do some collaborative problem-solving and get your feet held to the fire-in the nicest way possible? Are you committed to your own success? If so, check us out.
Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!
Ken Cloke of Mediators Beyond Borders is interviewed at the UNFCCC conference in Denmark about how to change the scope and feeling of a conversation to achieve understanding. Cloke talks...By Kenneth Cloke