Practice-building course for mediators and coaches

When I started my full-time conflict management coaching, training, and mediation private practice in 1997, certain questions dogged me more than others. I've noticed those same questions coming up in the graduate marketing course I've taught for two conflict resolution programs. And they come up all the time in workshops with mediators and coaches — even when I'm there to teach something other than practice-building, like advanced mediation or handling high conflict situations. These are … [Read more...]

Leaving room for the door to open

Our doorbell rang. Again. It had been ringing a lot in the past few weeks, as the political races wound down to election day. Here in New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary every four years, we like to say that "politics is up close and personal." Every serious candidate comes to our town. We get to see them in person, even shake hands and ask a question. We discuss what we think of the latest visitor with the bartender at the pub and with the woman standing ahead of us in the … [Read more...]

Our narratives reflect who we are

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, a single whale calls out again and again and again. Whale 52, as he's known, has never been seen by humans. But he has been heard. For years. His call has been recorded and it's in a frequency that matches no other whale species. Maybe that's why no other whale seems to have answered him and why 52 continues to swim and call, swim and call. The media has dubbed him The Loneliest Whale in the World. A Kickstarter campaign is trying to fund an expedition by … [Read more...]

The future of mediation

What is the future of mediation? That's the very question I was invited to answer by's Mediation Futures Project. The project is inviting leading thinkers in the field to share their ideas and hopes about the future of the mediation field and of mediation practice. So I contributed The Future of Mediation: Mediators As Problem Finders, Makers, and Designers. Here's an excerpt: In 1964 two University of Chicago social scientists conducted an experiment at the Art Institute of … [Read more...]

Hold the date: Conflict coaching workshop

If you're an organizational leader, manager, business owner, or HR professional, this conflict coaching workshop announcement is for you. Breaking the Conflict Cycle: The Leader and Manager as Conflict Coach Every organizational leader and manager has the experience of dealing with a steady flow of conflictual situations landing in their lap. They become expert at offering good advice and efficiently solving problems only to have similar ones come back through the door. This workshop is … [Read more...]

Do you have a dollar for four quarters?

"Excuse me," said the gentleman. "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and thinker extraordinaire Seth Godin had just parked his car on Manhattan's Upper West Side when he was approached by a panhandler. The question caught Godin's attention because it's not the question he expected from the panhandler. And Godin actually did need quarters for the parking meter. So he and the stranger completed the transaction. Then the gentleman asked Godin, … [Read more...]

The 15-minute self-mediation exercise

Very few disagreements require a mediator. But many would benefit from a discussion framework that keeps bickering at bay and helps you bring your best thinking to the conversation. When there's no mediator in your office or living room with you, here's what to do. Set yourselves up for success You'll need 15 minutes (maybe less). Try not to give it much more. For this to work, you must not talk when it's the other person's turn. Must. Not. Talk. When it is your turn to talk, focus … [Read more...]

What do I stand for in your mind?

Every single one of you who reads my blog or newsletter matters to me. I'm here because you're here, after all. If you've been a reader for a while, you know that I periodically ask you to help me see myself through your eyes. This is one of those times. Every year about this time I go on a retreat with myself. I use the time to reflect on my work — what gives me the most satisfaction, what gives me the least, what my clients and readers value most in what I do, what they care about … [Read more...]

Conflict resolution and the ancient art of kintsugi

What if, instead of viewing conflict as something that leaves permanent cracks and breaks in our relationships, we viewed those fault lines as testament to what the relationship has weathered? What if, instead of trying to ignore or hide the damage, we revered it, understanding that "as good as new" is a misguided goal? Artist Teresita Fernández was walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art when her attention was caught by a broken piece of Greek pottery from 487 BC. Known as an … [Read more...]

Willpower and managing emotions during conflict

"Whatever you do, just don't let me stop running," I said to my husband as I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. "I'll see you at about 9:45. Remember -- don't let me stop!" It was 1998 and I was training for my first marathon. I'd completed half marathons successfully. I'd been training faithfully, running every day, with a long run after work on Wednesdays and a longer run every weekend. It was early on a Saturday morning and I was about to run 20 miles. That was three miles … [Read more...]