\After reading Alex Yaroslavsky’s recent blog post titled “The Value of Language,” I thought about reflection and debriefing. It is something I think is very valuable and is critical for mediators to do in order to learn and develop into a more effective mediator.
For mediators that have their own practice and work by themselves, do you debrief? Do you find it effective doing a self debrief compared to debriefing with someone else? Is it even practical to be able to debrief with someone else? For conflict coaches and ombudsman- how do you debrief after a session with a client?
From my experience, it seems much easier for mediators working with community mediation centers to have the opportunity to debrief, especially with someone else, however I wonder what does everyone else do. That does not mean though it is impossible or not worth doing for those who mediate alone.
Admittedly not as much as I should. When I do, the method I choose is is to take a quiet moment, yes sometimes that actually is while on the New York City Subway, and reflect on what happened, the good, the bad, the simple and complex. Sometimes I go over it in my head, and other times I use my moleskin notebook (as recommended by Amanda Bucklow on Cafe Mediate) to jot down notes and thoughts as they come to my head. I ask myself, “What worked, and “What didn’t work” while also asking myself why I think something did or did not work.
For me it helps me understand. Sometimes it helps me actually understand that I did not understand what was going during a moment in the mediation and other times, yes, I do “pat” myself on the back.
Positive reinforcement is something I suggest each mediator, conflict coach and ombudsman do. Debriefing does not have to be just analyzing what you think you did wrong and what you might have done differently. Make sure to take time to think about the good you did. This positive thinking allows you to not only be mindful of what to try and repeat in future situations but also allow yourself to actually feel good.
Here are some tips that help me while debriefing: