The Need For In-House Mediation Supervisors

From the CMP Resolution Blog of John Crawley, Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.

At CMP Resolutions we recognise the crucial, complex role of the Mediation Supervisor. Our unique training programme explores the multi functional nature of this position; from supporting mediators to grow and develop through reflection on their experience, to taking organisational responsibility ensuring the delivery of high quality, consistent practice.

“Only when action is informed by reflection and, in turn, informs reflection is one able to learn and refine one’s knowledge” (Donald Shon)

The course develops coaching skills to meet the needs of supervisees and considers the parallels between supervising and mediating. Mediation is no text book activity. Mediators learn their trade through the painful experience of being in a room with conflicting parties and the opportunity to reflect later on what they did – or didn’t – do to help the situation move on. The skills practised on the course enable supervisors to support new mediators developing their practice, as well as experienced practitioners, in facilitative ways that reflect the core principles of the process itself.

“Effective systems of supervision are critical to quality service provision”
(Mediation Quality Mark, Legal Services Commission)

Some 10 years ago the UK Legal Services Commission identified the supervisor as ‘the lynch pin of the system which establishes and maintains practice standards’. It is crucial that any mediation facility is working within the policies and procedures of the organisation. At CMP we would go further and encourage additional policies and procedures that are specific to mediation. The course explores the leadership approaches that Supervisors can use to make the best of their mediators while at the same time outlining the basis of a quality framework and the tools required to implement it.

The Supervision Model taught by CMP was developed by our Head of Mediation, Lesley Allport, while undertaking a Masters Degree in Mediation. It is an ideological approach which has its roots in empirical research. It recognises the Supervisor as a Link, balancing the requirements of a mediation service operating within an organisational framework, and the values or principles of practice on which mediation is based.

Finally the programme touches on the other links that a Mediation Supervisor provides. Mediators learn from each other, as co-workers and as members of a team. The Supervisor facilitates a “Community of practice” (a group of people who share a common concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly). This community of practice ‘holds’ the expertise of mediators practising within your organisation.

As In House Mediation Services grow in experience and confidence so too do the types of disputes they may handle and the complexity of those conflicts. Entering familiar ground, but new territory, mediators will be called upon to use like processes and similar skills sets but with a degree of contextual style and flexibility. After completing this training, the Supervisor is well placed to support mediators to develop the confidence to use their skills in more complex situations and to look for new and innovative opportunities to use mediation as an effective route to conflict resolution within your organisation.

                        author

Lesley Allport

Lesley Allport is CMP Resolutions’ Head of Mediation and joined us in 2007. Her role includes supervising our team of practitioners; delivering dispute resolution services and training: developing best practice; and developing advanced mediation practice and mediation supervision programmes. She has worked in the field of mediation as a mediator,… MORE >

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