It’s fascinating how, as we grow older and wiser, certain ‘truisms’ repeatedly appear in our lives. As I’ve broadened in my professional life from being a lawyer to working as a life coach and mediator, I’ve found this particularly to be the case. I now see clearly how there are certain underlying principles that govern both my professional and personal life. I like to refer to this as Mediator Mind.
So what exactly is Mediator Mind? It’s comprised of a ‘mindful’ approach that each of us can bring to our lives and then see the dramatic difference it makes in all of our relationships. Here are some guidelines for applying this approach:
LISTEN: I mean really listen when you are in conversation with others. Sometimes this type of listening is referred to as active or deep listening. It means genuinely paying attention to what the other person is saying—not just going over your own story in your head. When you’re enabling the other person to be heard, you’re allowing space for a shift in the discussion.
DEVELOP EMPATHY: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. A good way to develop empathy for someone is to look beneath what they’re saying. You can begin by giving them the opportunity to adequately express their feelings and concerns. Of course, you need to be actively listening to them during this process. After doing this, it becomes much easier to identify the important needs that underlie their feelings.
REFRAME: Once you’ve done your active listening, with empathy, it becomes a lot easier for a shift to take place in the attitudes of both people. Each person feels like they’ve really been heard. And now both are more open to considering other options or approaches.
Why don’t you try out Mediator Mind and see where it leads you. It certainly works for mediators…and it can work for you as well. Ask yourself: How can I apply Mediator Mind in my own life? Then, see where that begins to take you…