Are you or others you care about experiencing interpersonal tensions or conflict?
When people are required to operate in pairs or groups to get things done, conflict is natural because individuals have their own views of the world which have formed from their unique neurophysiology, life experiences and value & belief systems. It would therefore be unrealistic to expect people to always see 'eye to eye' - and what really matters is how conflict is managed. When conflict is managed well it often results in stronger and more authentic relationships, and can also be a source of new levels of creativity and innovation.
However, without the right conflict management skills and support, differing personal and communication styles and approaches to tasks and situations can leave people feeling misunderstood, 'put down', micro-managed or sidelined - or alternatively can require a great deal of energy to accommodate, compensate for and/or 'put up with.'
Especially but not only in relationships in which there are power imbalances, conflict can feel particularly uncomfortable and threatening and trigger a 'fight, flight, freeze or fold' response.
In many cases of conflict, stress levels soar and the health of individual(s) can be negatively impacted, as well as the individual's and group's productivity being substantially reduced.
Mediation - a highly effective process for resolving conflicts and disputes
The mediation process levels the playing field (irrespective of differences in formal status) to safely explore what's happened, how people are feeling, and most importantly helps them to determine the most workable path ahead for those involved and affected.
The earlier the mediation takes place, the lower the stress, productivity impact and time involved managing the conflict. Mediation is private, confidential and off the record. The mediator is neutral and impartial and non-judgmental.
Facilitation - similar to mediation but to help relationships fulfil their potential and prevent conflict
Facilitation means 'facilitated discussion' for people and/or organisations who may not be in conflict (ie they are relating largely in a healthy way), but who care enough about their relationship to engage professional help to address areas of apparent 'disconnect' and strengthen how they communicate and operate together, so that they can get closer to realising the full potential of their collaboration.
Facilitation follows a similar model to mediation. While facilitation is more about embracing the full opportunities of the relationship, and preventing risk of future issues, any specific challenges that arise can be addressed as part of the process.
How does mediation work?
Mediation is a confidential, voluntary and 'off the record' negotiation in which people who are experiencing relationship challenges or conflict are supported to safely explore mutually acceptable solutions in the presence of a neutral and impartial trained professional, the mediator.
The mediator facilitates the negotiation process according to a structured and proven method or model, while being supportively attuned to the emotions and needs of the participants.
The participants are in control of the solutions and agreement arising from mediation. Mediation takes place in private and is independent of (and not precluding) any future interventions of the more formal kind.
Mediation has a very high success rate and is generally considered a much more effective resolution route than the traditional grievance route. Mediation tends to be much less costly and much less stressful for participants than the grievance process, with a much more positive outcome achieved in much less time.
In the rare cases in which mediation does not conclude successfully, the grievance route can still be taken. An increasing number of organisations now offer mediation as the first intervention to support people experiencing conflict.
What kind of mediation and facilitation services do we offer?
We help you to establish more constructive relationships, and/or to resolve disagreements, in workplace and employment situations, and in wider commercial and civil environments (between organisations), and in the community (for example between neighbours or family members). Through confidential, impartial and non-judgemental mediation we help people and organisations to
understand and interact with each other at a more authentic level, in the early stages of experiencing sensitivities, to help align and improve their professional relationship(s) and prevent conflict occurring
resolve tensions, disagreements or conflicts that are current
The benefits of mediation include:
The participants and their stakeholders benefit from
a neutral and safe space where each participant has an equal opportunity to be heard by a qualified external mediator in private, and to consider needs and preferred solutions, irrespective of differences in the participants' relative status (the solutions can be recorded in a written agreement confidential to the participants)
assurance of confidentiality, including that no notes or records will be retained on the content discussed during the mediation
reduced risk of one or both participants leaving the relationship/workplace and/or suffering from stress/ill health and/or proceeding with litigation - plus avoidance of lengthy, costly process and reputation risk for organisation(s)
the improved productivity and satisfaction that result from strengthened and/or realigned relationship(s) and from evidencing a progressive culture that supports early-stage mediation, rather than it being seen as 'relationship failure'
affordable and quick process - almost 90% of mediations settle within a day
avoidance of substantial expense and stress of dispute proceeding to tribunal or court with no certainty of succeeding
Please refer to Articles section, and points below, for further information on mediation.
Mediation and Executive Conflict Coaching complement each other
Executive Conflict Coaching complements mediation by helping participants to prepare and benefit from engaging in mediation, and by supporting participants as they implement and ensure the sustainability of their agreed mediation outcomes. Please refer to the Executive Coaching section for further details.
Executive Coaching and Facilitation complement each other
Executive coaching (for example to find your purpose and align behaviours, and values and beliefs accordingly) strongly complements facilitation processes to develop your relationship(s) in line with potential and to optimise your collaboration.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE MEDIATION AND WHAT IS IT NOT?
Workplace mediation is not a process...
that people can be pressured, or formally required to take part in
in which the mediator can be 'imposed' on participants
which reveals any details outside the mediation
in which people in conflict may be forced to be in the same room
which focuses on the past
in which people are judged
in which people are told what to do
which is part of an organisation's formal grievance or disciplinary procedures
Workplace mediation is a practice...
which enables people to identify a mutually acceptable path forward, in the presence of a professional mediator
which is voluntary (participants can refuse mediation or leave mediation at any time)
in which the mediator (neutral and impartial) must be acceptable to both/all participants
which is entirely confidential
in which people are only in same room (or virtual room) if comfortable with this
in which people are never judged or told what to do
which is completely separate to an organisation's formal grievance or disciplinary procedures
which is positive and insightful, and often creative
which typically enables resolution to be reached more quickly and affordably than is case with traditional grievance route, and with much less stress, disruption and risk
More about Marianne Schoenig
Marianne Schoenig is an accredited Workplace & Employment Mediator and a Civil and Commercial Mediator. Marianne also contributes her time and experience pro bono as a mediator of community and neighbourhood disputes. Marianne trained with the London School of Mediation and ADR-ODR International, and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In addition, Marianne is an ICF-qualified Executive Conflict Coach (please see Executive Coaching section). Marianne is registered with a number of mediator panels and her Mediator Profile can be viewed here: