Musings on the Mediator’s Job

Tammy Lenski’s Conflict Zen Blog

I’ve been working my way through research notes for my upcoming book and today came across these excerpts on the mediator’s job from Winslade and Monk’s 2000 classic, Narrative Mediation. If you’re a mediator and you haven’t read it, you ought to. They have several worthy sequels, too.

“If mediation is about creating new meanings in a dispute where existing meanings have become stale or stuck, then deconstructive listening and deconstructive questioning are useful tools in this creative task…The mediator’s task is to unpack the suitcase and take out the pieces and hold them up for view by the parties. This unpacking involving adopting a naive posture and asking questions, not so much about the hidden depths of the suitcase but about the obvious and ordinary aspects of the baggage that comes with the dispute.”

“…the mediator is not listening to the stories people tell with a view to sifting out the facts or the truth from among the details of what people say. Such an aim risks communicating a subtle disrespect for people’s stories. It sets them up as falsehoods gained by personal bias and implies a process of replacing people’s stories with a higher truth based on a more rational objective account. The alternative stance is to listen to people as experts on their own lives.”

Your thoughts?

                        author

Tammy Lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski helps individuals, pairs, teams, and audiences navigate disagreement better, address friction, and build alignment. Her current work centers on creating the conditions for robust collaboration and sound decisions while fostering resilient personal and professional relationships. Her conflict resolution podcast and blog, Disagree Better, are available at https://tammylenski.com/archives/… MORE >

Featured Mediators

ad
View all

Read these next

Category

Does Mediation Really Need ‘Respect’?

From the CMP Resolution Blog of John Crawley, Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.We train hundreds of mediators a year who plan to mediate in a variety of contexts: homelessness, SEN,...

By Katherine Graham
Category

Two Critical Questions Your Mediation Marketing Must Answer

From the Mediator Tech blog of Tammy Lenski. Before any client hires you, they’re asking themselves two critical questions: Is mediation (substitute other conflict resolution services you offer if needed)...

By Tammy Lenski
Category

Less Than Half Of Miami-Dade County Homeowners Comply With Court Ordered Foreclosure Mediation

From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes. In January, the Florida Supreme Court ordered mediation on all home foreclosure cases. According to Miami Today, less...

By Victoria VanBuren

Find a Mediator

X
X
X