I came into mediation in 1994 from being a Mathematics teacher in a Secondary School in Camden, London. There was often violence in the area in which I taught and pupils that I taught were involved in violence, either as victims or perpetrators.
It led me to attend a course on conflict resolution in order to try to understand the reasons that conflicts are responded to in ways that can be so destructive.
To cut a long story short this led to me becoming a Mediator for Camden Mediation Service as a volunteer Community Mediator, dealing mainly with neighbour disputes. My teaching background helped me to move quite quickly into training of Mediators as well and by 1996 I was employed at Camden Mediation Service as a Case Worker.
In 2000 I set up and became Director of a community mediation service, Hillingdon Community Mediation where I worked for 11 years until its closure in March 2011, providing mediation in neighbour disputes in West London, training of mediators for our service and other organisations and developing a pilot project in Conflict Coaching.
In April 2011 I set up CAOS Conflict Management which provides mediation in a wide range of types of dispute, conflict coaching and conflict management training and consultancy, as well as training in mediation and conflict coaching skills.
I also have a website called Communication and Conflict which describes the thinking behind various aspects of mediation, conflict coaching and conflict management practise.
Contact Alan Sharland
Bullying in the Workplace: How to Respond Effectively
This article explores the concept of bullying in the workplace and how to respond to it more effectively.
Cultural Awareness - What Does That Actually Mean?
( . . . Or how, what is often called Cultural Awareness is actually simply cultural stereotyping - meaning it is more likely to lead to disconnection than connection between people . . . )
What Is A Bully?
How a commonly used word is often not explored to clarify what is meant when someone uses it - and how that lack of clarity can lead to powerlessness.
Let’s Be Clear, Mediation Is NOT Arbitration
Sadly I see commentaries about mediation which do not seem to show consistency in the thinking that underlies it, nor a rigour in the practise that follows. Mediation is often described as a process which is more akin to what I understand to be arbitration, something which, in my view is fundamentally different from mediation.
Effective Interpersonal Communication
The author sets out principles for establishing effective interpersonal communication in relationships and organizations.
President Barack Obama's Effective Communication
Well, President Obama is now making his mark on the world by speaking on the various issues that he will have to deal with over the next 4 years of his presidency. Already it is clear that he uses language that promotes effective communication and conflict resolution, and while I'm sure he is not an avid reader of this site and the Principles espoused on it, his means of communicating reflects many of the Principles that this site describes and the practice of mediation it draws its inspiration from.
Impartiality is one of the more commonly recognised aspects of the role of the Mediator. This does not mean that the Mediator should somehow become inhuman and not have a feeling of bias towards one party or another, but that they practice in a way that minimises any manifestation of this bias.
My Body Language, My Tone Of Voice, The Colours I'm Wearing.... They Don't Mean A Thing
....or why, when we treat 'non-verbal communication' such as 'body language' as if it is a science, it leads to disconnection between us.
To effectively support constructive resolution of conflict requires a commitment to the use of creativity generating questions.
Summarising is the second effective communication skill which forms part of the cyclical process of Listening - Summarising - Questioning that promotes Effective Communication and Effective Conflict Resolution.
The No-blame Approach In Mediation
Mediation adopts a 'no-blame' approach when supporting people in resolving their dispute. And the reasons behind doing this are just as relevant in any difficult situation such as a complaint, or relationship breakdown or other destructive conflict situation. This article explains this approach and the reasons why it is an important and more effective approach to adopt.
What Is Conflict And How Do We Approach It?
This article explores the way mediators view conflict-as inevitable, with the potential for both destructive and constructive responses.
The purpose of listening in conflict resolution is not for the listener to get ‘the facts,’ but to support the speaker in understanding their own thoughts and feelings about the destructive conflict they are involved in.