I have a checkered past. And, I’m damned proud of it. I’ve held just about every position there is within the mediation field, except being an Executive Director. Honestly – Mediator. Trainer. Case Evaluator. Program organizer. You name it, I’ve done it all.
All those terrific and not so terrific experiences helped me understand what I’d be most happy doing as a mediator. Oddly enough, I’m happiest when I’m not mediating at all. My talents spring to life when I’m guiding other mediators to create the practices (and incomes) they dream of. The tools I once used to help parties gain clarity and insight, I now apply to mediators. It’s just as satisfying, maybe more because in some way it feels like I’m spreading peace by showing other mediators how to thrive. Mediating isn’t the only way to be part of the profession or to serve a needy community. I plan to expand on this thought tomorrow as the moderator for the New England chapter of ACR annual meeting.
NE-ACR Annual Meeting
You are a member of ACR, right? Now is the time to join your local chapter, if you haven’t already for a couple of important reasons.
One, Conferences. It’s conference season- meaning that many regional chapters are hosting their annual meeting or planning for a conference. it’s lonely out there. You need a connection to others who share your passion and challenges. There’s very little point (and absolutely no sense) in recreating the wheel. Someone else in your chapter or your section has already solved your obstacle and all you need do is ask. Each ACR meeting and conference I attend confirms to me just how powerful and valuable organizations can be to a solo practitioner. There are 22 regional chapters- some almost as fine as the NE chapter -of like-minded, talented folks that you really should know.
Second, Resources. ACR provides practical resources you aren’t like to find other places. Where else will you find the latest ADR research and theory? Advanced trainings? Best practices for your practice? Sure you could google it but why would you want to spend the time searching when you could go straight to the source, so to speak? Clearly, I’m a NE-ACR fan.
Unbundle Your Skills
Getting back on topic, tomorrow I’ll have the pleasure of talking with three trailblazing practitioners who unbundled those precious mediation skills and put them to work in interesting ways. This will NOT be your typical ‘talking head’ panel discussion, folks. We’ll be taking questions right from the start so we have a lively, engaging conversation.
Doug Thompson, a senior mediator at the Keystone Center, has some keen ideas on how public policy disputes benefit from having a person skilled in mediation around. Jim McGuire with JAMS will discuss how mediation techiques improve conflict coaching. Toni Robinson, one of the Ombuds at MIT, will certainly share her unique viewpoint on why mediation is a good foundation for an Ombudsman.
Me. I hope to push folks out of their comfort zone altogether. My mediation skills have been indispensable for attracting and closing new business, both as a practitioner and now as a business coach. I translate current business theory and tactics into something usable for today’s mediators. I do that by testing assumptions and unraveling misconceptions about business and mediators. Sound familiar?
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