How Coaching Skills will Upgrade the Mediator’s Practice
Have you ever considered the value of adding Professional Coaching expertise and designation to your portfolio? If you are a mediator, you clearly have many valuable skills already. Becoming a certified Professional Coach will improve and upgrade those skillsets. It will set you apart from other mediators. It will afford you additional proficiencies, particularly in the areas of communication and problem-solving. Coach Training will provide a significant amount of practice in a different context and provide direct feedback on your abilities. I have joined with a Santa Barbara Mediator to outline the value that becoming a Professional Coach will add to your practice:
1. You will be well-versed in helping people figure out what they really want. This includes supporting parties in becoming clear on where they want to be when the matter is over. This skill supports intentional resolution of the matter because it focuses partly on the internal state the party seeks and does not focus entirely on the material gain they are after. When a party figures out what they are truly after, this allows them a great deal more flexibility in their approach to getting it.
2. You will be adept at “meeting people where they are.” This includes recognizing where the parties are in the process and that both parties are not in the same stage/place, while helping them to both feel heard. This effectively builds on your already-existing skills and abilities in active listening and facilitates resolution.
3. You will be skilled in the art of curiosity as an ongoing way of being, so you avoid the normal human tendency to place people in boxes based on a limited amount of information and your personal World View. You will also be skilled in asking “powerful questions.” Asking the right questions is much more likely to create resolution than making statements, regardless of how compelling.
4. Your skill of non-judgmental reflection will be refined, allowing the parties to be and feel heard. Sometimes people feel judged, even when reflection of basic need is occurring, and they will dig in their heels and become more attached to their position. Coaches are skilled in the distinction between a “position” and a “point of view.” The latter is far more likely to create collaboration, but the former is how most people communicate in conflict. When the coach-mediator reflects point of view, the parties can start to see where they might collaborate.
5. You will have a conscious appreciation of others’ “World View” and where they are coming from in a neutral way. This can alleviate the sense of frustration mediators sometimes feel when parties don’t do their homework or otherwise act in ways that seem not to support the process.
6. You will be skilled in the art of “enrollment.” In a coaching practice, enrollment is a way to support clients in taking action to get what they want. Enrollment in mediation will apply not only to “enrolling” the parties in doing their homework, exchanging documents, and ultimately resolving their matters, but will also enhance your ability to bring in new cases and referral partners.
7. You will be aware of your own (and others’) communication styles which will help you tailor your communication in ways that each person is most receptive to what you are saying. To know your communication style as a mediator will support you in knowing (a) what is likely to trigger reaction in you; and (b) where you might stop or not be able to see another perspective because of how you tend to communicate and see the world.
Being able to discern others’ communication styles will support you in reading the room, and in knowing the best ways to communicate with each party. In communication, one size does not fit all and knowing the different language each person speaks will go a long way toward crafting a resolution that works for all.
8. You will be well-versed in the importance of (and how to create) clear agreements. Often people do not create clear agreements and this can create a breakdown in trust and communication, as well as a lack of timeliness in moving the case forward.
9. You will have significant experience in effectively “dealing with objections,” so that you know how to lean in to conflict in a way that creates resolution quicker. Coaches learn how to truly hear objections so that clients can get past them. Normal human tendency is to argue with people who raise objections, to ignore objections, or to see them through one’s own filter. Coaches can “be with,” explore, and examine objections thereby affording clients a way to look at them and move past them. This practice supports the mediator in skillfully turning toward the conflict rather than away from it.
In the end, Professional Coaching is a significant upgrade to the Professional Mediator’s practice.
Matthew Long, Attorney & Mediator
McLaren Coaching Owner and Trainer
For more information on the Transformative Coaching Essentials program, click here: www.mclarencoaching.com/coach-training