The purpose of my work is to help my clients in resolving specific disagreements or conflicts. By helping someone improve their ability to respond to difficult conversations, disagreements and conflict, I support them in making good choices regarding their relationships with others at work, at home and in their communities. Sometimes the person is able to rebuild a damaged relationship and other times they may choose to move on and rebuild their lives differently.
The stress you normally experience when you sit with unresolved conflicts and negative feelings about others shifts significantly when you confront those conflicts and make choices on how to change things. The old saying of ‘a weight off my shoulders’ applies here.
I work primarily as a coach, a mediator and as a consultant in conflict management. Related work includes leadership coaching or mentoring; leadership development workshops;as well as workplace investigations and consulting on employee engagement particularly in activating engagement via the strategic and operational planning (everybody has to have a purpose, otherwise, why are they on payroll?).
I work with teams and leaders in the corporate environment (public and private) as well as with small enterprises, community organizations and families.
Whatever support you need from me in overcoming or resolving conflict, I’ll offer you a process that works for YOU.
I first started professionally working as a mediator after I completed my training at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, 13years ago, and as a conflict coach after my training with Cinnie Noble, about 12 years ago.
My ADR experience goes back decades, first when I was a trade unionist in Nova Scotia, where we regularly had to rely on mediators to assist labour and management to avoid industrial action and resolve contentious issues in collective bargaining and other workplace disputes, and subsequently in South Africa, during the height of the transition from apartheid to democracy. I therefore witnessed a range of mediators working with very different disputants under diverse circumstances and learned a great deal. In my own experience in mediating both workplace and family disputes, I continue building my understanding of conflict dynamics and ways of breaking impasses and creating unexpected positive solutions.
Influenced by my background in conflict coaching I prefer to get to know each of the disputants first: their understanding of the conflict as seen through the lens of their own experience, values, needs, mandates, etc., and how they understand the other party’s context and priorities. These are highly confidential conversations. They serve to give me information and insights and they also serve to establish trust between us (it is as important for the mediator to trust the client as vice versa). I do not invite the parties into the same conversation until I am satisfied that they are able to shift from their original positions in a way that takes the conversation forward in a construtive manner. When the mediation results in consensus, or agreement on some points and not others, I write up the agreement and give both parties the opportunity to review, clarify and refine it. In a family law situation, where the clients would rely on the agreement in court proceedings, I advise them to have the agreement scrutnitized by their respective lawyers, before signing.
At times when agreement cannot be reached, I would continue working with a disputant, providing conflict coaching, which enables them to work out a way of moving forward despite that no agreement had been reached. a
A standard feature of my mediation service it that I remain accessible to all parties for a period up to three months after the signing of a mediated agreement, in the event that some difficulty arises regarding the interpretation or application of the agreement. At times I would continue to facilitate a parental discussion around the managing/implementation of a parenting plan.
BA in sociology – University of Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
MSW – Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Q.Med – ADR Institute of Canada
My approach to billing is to offer the client predictability: I have market-related set rates for mediation, coaching and consulting. In mediation, based on the initial individual consultations with the parties, I estimate the amount of time the process will take and then design a customised package proposal, which caps the client’s financial risk (i.e. if it takes longer than I estimated, you aren’t trapped in a situation where you incur unbudgeted-for extra costs. When I mediate, my firm requirement is that all parties are required to make a financial contribution towards my fees and costs. It doesn’t have to be 50-50 – it is based on ability to pay, but there must be some payment, so that my neutrality is evident even in financial terms. If mediation is in a workplace context I enter into an agreement with the employer whereby payment will then be their responsibility, and I then require the parties to dispute to sign an Agreement to Mediate.
For coaching and consulting we also work off a base rate, coupled by ability to pay.