The morning paper: an institute, a tradition, a household name. Collectively at 7am across Britain, the sound of crisp news pages, crumpled from too-tight letterboxes, can be heard unfolding over the kitchen table. Steaming mugs of coffee are clasped, drops spilling onto the inky text, as readers rub sleep from their eyes and headlines blur into vision. A familiar scene made possible by Marie Coombes, formerly Industrial Relations Mediator at the Royal Mail, delivering the people that deliver the post.
Marie Coombes worked for Royal Mail for 17 years, specialising in conflict resolution and mediation, training, change management, employee and industrial relations and employee engagement. In 2014 she became an accredited mediator through TCM’s National Certificate in Workplace mediation. During her 5 years as full-time in-house workplace mediator, she completed over 200 cases with a success rate of 95% in a complex and often volatile industrial relations environment. Her strong relationships with union officials and management at all levels smoothed the way to a successful outcome in many instances.
As well as mediations, Marie developed and delivered bespoke group mediations, team facilitations and wider ranging engagement activity to help understand the root cause of issues in a particular business unit. In 2020 she was nominated and won the workplace mediator of the year award at the National Mediation Awards in recognition of her excellence in the field of mediation, and in particular for her expertise in mental health and her rapid adaptation to online mediation in the face of the Covid19 pandemic.
She has a particular interest in mental health and the impact conflict has on employee wellbeing. Prior to leaving Royal Mail she was the team mentor for mental health issues in mediations; designing and delivering a half day training course on Mediation and Mental Health, as well as being a business-wide mental health ambassador. She is also currently a Time to Change Champion and a Mental Health First Aider.
As a trainer, Marie’s primary focus is providing courses that exceed clients and delegates expectations. During both her Royal Mail and TCM career she has designed and delivered many courses to huge success. Clients have included the Civil Service; TSB and Public Health England She has also delivered TCM’s flagship course: National Certificate in Workplace Mediation, face to face and online as both in-house and open access.
In her spare time, she enjoys walking her 2 dogs, listening to music, running and weight training, and spending time with her family.
What people say:
“Very friendly and collegiate atmosphere when it came to presenting on a very sensitive and difficult topic. Great knowledge from Marie on a multitude of issues. She just has this knack of making people feel less alone in their struggles.”
Delegate: Mental Health & Mediation Delegate
“I have worked with Marie over a number of years and as a mediator she excels. Truly dedicated to making mediation a success, Marie’s results speak for themselves. She also has great knowledge and strength in understanding mental health in the workplace and the link to mediation. Continually looking to develop her knowledge in these areas of managing and resolving conflict, she has in my opinion become a subject matter expert. She is a skilled coach/mentor and this was demonstrated in her last team role, Marie is a true HR professional and I would highly recommend her for any future opportunities in this area.”
Carol Hipkiss Spencer, FCIPD
“I had previously been made to attend mediation and the process had been awful and added to my distress considerably. This process was so much better and has left me feeling positive about the future…. Marie was kind and professional – thank you so much, you may have helped to save my life and career.”
Anita Auer: The Baird Academy
“Marie was lovely. Very kind and made me feel safe during the process. A true credit to her profession.”
Party A: Pharmaceutical Sector
“I thought the training was very special. Marie was extremely approachable and knowledgeable and was happy to have questions thrown at her. I felt that she was very generous with her experiences to support our learning. I haven’t engaged with training like that for some time and that is thanks to Marie and a really engaging informative, challenging course. Needless to say, I was exhausted all weekend!”
Delegate: Open Access National Certificate in Workplace Mediation