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Delivering rewarding work
We all know that working as a consultant in the dispute resolution space is immensely rewarding. For those of us who have worked in house on this sort of activity not being bogged down by internal politics or hampered by any accusations of bias or partiality is a liberating experience.
We all know what it feels like when the parties (investigation witnesses, neutral evaluation or mediation parties) supply different versions of the same experience and we have to get as close as possible to the facts that usually lie somewhere between the different versions offered. Navigating our way through skilful questioning and objective weighing up of evidence is something we are all experienced at and know how to manage well. But there is always room for improvement.
The importance of sharing experiences
Two cases I have worked on recently alongside teams of other TCM consultants have brought the opportunity to share some thinking out loud and spark thoughts and strategies that would not have happened in isolation. Talking through a case with another consultant helps to slow down the thinking, and that facilitates creativity. As we work on more complex cases and more neutral evaluations this sort of sharing could help us to raise our individual game and also develop relationships where we support and learn from each other.
Providing a safe space to think
As well as a mediator and investigator I am a coach and one of the most valuable skills I have learned as a coach is providing and preserving space to think – the client will have the answers and needs help in finding them. It feels counterintuitive but it’s really powerful. Nancy Kline’s latest book The Promise That Changes Everything: I Won’t Interrupt You describes this beautifully. Coaching is not about providing the answers it’s about helping the coachee find the answer in themselves.
Another great tool I have learned from coaching is supervision. Not the type of supervision where corrective notes are issued (or it shouldn’t be) but a psychologically safe space where clients can share any dilemmas or surprises they have faced with a trusted pair (or set) of ears where no judgement is applied and only supportive feedback is offered.
Talking it through
Talking through cases in a confidential space is also likely to spark opportunities to expand services to clients. A recent mediation I did came to mind this morning when David was talking about the developments in a culture and OD space. The mediation, between two directors of a large organisation was successful but on a follow-up call it became apparent that the challenge the organisation is facing is not confined to those two people. Their immediate dispute is resolved but the wider senior team could probably do with some intervention to help them to be part of a long term solution. If that had been explored in supervision no doubt further ideas to help this client are likely to have developed.