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Graham's Services

I know that every workplace is different, which is why I offer bespoke solutions that are tailor-made to fit the specific needs of each client. My strategies are designed to create a collaborative environment where all parties can come together to discuss grievances and find a mutually satisfactory solution. With my extensive experience and expertise in dispute resolution, I believe that my practical solutions can help you to manage conflicts and restore harmony in the workplace.​​​

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but it's important to address it in a constructive way. As a conflict coach, I work with colleagues to identify the root cause of conflict and develop a plan to move forward. Through structured 1-2-1 conversations, we explore the underlying dynamics of the situation, help individuals develop communication and conflict resolution skills, and create a roadmap for moving forward. With my coaching, employees can work together more effectively and build a stronger, more positive work environment.​

The Structure of the Resolve model recognises that the issue of managing difficult conversations requires specific skills and emotional intelligence. It also requires an understanding of the context in which the conversation has arisen, and knowledge of the communication process that needs to be followed, if it is to be successful. Resolve is orientated around work-based scenarios where a problem has arisen, a change is required, performance is not as good as expected, or a working relationship is not as productive as it could be.

Workplace Mediation Services

Workplace Mediation

What is workplace mediation?

What is Workplace mediation?

Workplace mediation falls under the heading of an alternative approach to dispute resolution. It is effective in resolving disputes or disagreements without resorting to formal grievance or disciplinary proceedings.

The mediation process depends upon confidential discussions facilitated by an independent, impartial, and neutral third party. The mediator manages an effective, open and purposeful exchange enabling both parties to engage constructively towards achieving a shared agreement.

What is the role of the mediator?

A mediator operates as an impartial and independent third party, facilitating all aspects of the mediation process. Their role is to create a psychologically safe environment and to manage a structured process where all parties can express and voice their feelings, needs and concerns about specific issues.

Rather than imposing solutions, they enable effective communication between the parties so they understand the nature of the dispute, explore potential solutions, and reach an agreement on best approach to resolving the dispute. They hold a neutral position when guiding and influencing the conversation in an empowering manner, ensuring it is constructive and focused on finding ways forward. 

Overall, a mediator's role is to enable positive and constructive communication, nurture shared understanding of the issues, and guide the parties towards a resolution that meets their needs. This approach helps avoid costly and adversarial legal proceedings. 

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What is the mediation process?

Before the mediation can start, an organisation must first decide on the suitability of mediation as a conflict resolution appraoch. Given the voluntary nature of the process, both parties must consent to participate and demonstrate a willingness and a desire to improve the situation.

An independent trained mediator is selected to oversee the mediation process They will require the organisation to accept the confidential nature of the process. Organisations must understand the confidential nature of mediation, which encourages a psychological safe environment that supports employees to fully engage in the process.

The mediator meets separately with each party, either in person or online, to gain an understanding of their context, perspectives, concerns and desired outcomes. This allows the mediator to understand root causes of the conflict and prepare a personalised mediation approach.

A structured mediation session, facilitated by the mediator takes place at an appropriate time and venue where all parties meet and discuss the issues honestly and respectfully. Each party has the opportunity to speak openly and without interruption. The mediator, focusing on open communication and active listening, identifies the roots of problems and explores collaborative solutions for future working relationships.

Having reached an agreement, where the needs and interests of both parties are met, the mediator drafts a document outlining the terms and commitment of the resolution. This document is signed by the parties involved, signalling their intention to abide by its terms. If no agreement is reached, the mediator may offer recommendations regarding further steps towards resolution.

The mediator discusses with both parties the extent to which the agreement's details can be shared outside of the mediation, and the procedure for doing so. Generally discussions within mediations are confidential and cannot be used in any future proceedings.

The mediator will follow up with the parties involved to ensure compliance with the agreement's terms. The ongoing support aims to ensure successful implementation of the resolution.

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What is the role of the mediator?
What is the mediaton process?

When is it appropriate to use mediation?

When is it appropriate to use mediation?

Mediation is a flexible tool that can be applied at any stage in a dispute or disagreement. From  cost-effective point of view, and in terms of maintaining the integrity of relationships, early intervention is ideal since entrenched views built up over a protracted period become harder to address. In addition, resolving conflicts significantly reduces the risk of escalation.

For this reason, although mediation is often used to rebuild relationships after a disciplinary or grievance process, it is better employed as an alternative approach before any formal measures are pursued. Early use of mediation can prevent formal complaints being made, leading to significant savings in time and resources, while ensuring relationships stay intact.

Within the workplace, mediation works effectively to resolve:

  • communication problems

  • accusations of bullying and harassment

  • significant differences in personality

  • relationships that have broken down

When is mediation not suitable within the workplace?

When is mediaton not suitable within the workplace?

In certain situations, mediation may not be a suitable course of action; the severity of the dispute or behaviour may necessitate a more fmoral response. Individuals wishing to make a serious complaint should be familiar with the organisation's grievance procedure. Allegations of discrimination or harassment typically need formally addressing through a disciplinary investigation and hearing.

What are the benefits of mediation?

What are the benefits of mediation?

Cost effective - Mediation is usually less costly than litigation and arbitration since it requires less resources such as legal fees and court costs. You won't lose hours of lost productivity and management time while you conduct investigations and hearings.

Fast and effective solutions - The whole mediation process can be set up quickly and administered over 3 separate meetings in a week, or as little as 2-3 days depending on employee availability. This significantly reduces the stress and emotional strain of long, drawn out investigations.

Preserves the integrity of relationships - Since mediation focuses on collaborative problem solving rather than adversarial approaches, it serves to preserve relationships between parties, making it suitable between team members, managers and their staff, and between employees.

Mutually agreeable resolution - The mediation process empowers parties to find suitable solutions. Each party takes control for their own actions as they work to address the issue, as opposed to tribunal processes where judgements are made.

Flexible approach - The mediation process is flexible, can be customised, solutions tailored to the needs and interests of both parties are more likely to be sustained.

Confidential - The confidential nature of mediation ensures sensitive information discussed during the process remains private. This confidentiality leads to more open and honest communication.

Implementation- The empowering nature of the process, where parties actively help build and shape the agreement means they are more likely to comply with agreed terms, reducing the risk of further disputes or staff leaving the organisation.

If you consider that mediation is an appropriate approach to improve a workplace scenario, please complete the form below and you will be contacted shortly.

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Workplace Mediation

Please complete the form to request further details from Graham Norris about starting the workplace mediation process

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Conflict Coaching Services

Conflict Coaching

Conflict Coaching

What is conflict coaching?

In many respects conflict coaching mirrors the process of performance coaching that occurs within the workplace: it is a process that involves a staff member taking part in 1 on 1 structured conversation within the confines of a psychologically safe environment.

However, the context is focussed on the resolution of a conflict the member of staff is experiencing. It is designed to help the staff member assess where they are in relation to the conflict, set realistic improvement goals, and agree what they need to do to move forward. 

As a process, it allows them to step back from the actual situation, assess and reflect on what is going on. Being detached from context allows them to move from being cross, angry, stressed, frightened etc, to a more resourceful state of mind, where calmer, more rationale and open thought processes are possible.

It helps the person engage with the emotional component of the dispute. Through empathetic listening, the conflict coach allows the staff member to work through how they are feeling about the situation without agreeing with or condoning their emotions. This allows them to reset, let go of negative and unproductive thoughts and ensures they can view their situation in more neutral, rationale and objective ways.

Critically, from an outcome perspective, it examines the question: 'What would better mean for you?'

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The process is creative and considers options that serve to improve the situation. These ideas are then channelled into potential actions that the person could use to collaborate with the other party in a professional and productive way. The emphasis here is extending the person's thinking beyond what they have considered so far (which probably has not been successful) to new, different, and more creative approaches that are more likely to succeed.

In a similar vein to the best examples of performance coaching, the whole process is empowering and non-directive and focuses on letting the member of staff devise their own best solution. Using specific skills in the conversation, the coach allows them to experience specific communication tools, techniques and approaches, such as active listening, reframing, problem solving, and assertiveness. They can discuss how relevant they might be in helping the member of staff reassess and gain insight into the other person's perspective and to re-establish the relationship.

Finally, the conflict coach supports the implementation of the action plan - moving from ideas to practice where progress can be monitored over time. Afterwards, the coach can provide ongoing support, encouraging the member of staff to stay on track towards resolving the original problem. 

As an approach, conflict coaching aims to reposition conflicts into opportunities for growth, learning and development, and improved relationships.

Why is it successful?

Like all coaching conversations, conflict coaching takes place within a contracted and agreed framework of confidentiality. The coach does not impose, advise or tell the member of staff what to do.

The structured nature of the conversation ensures it is effective and constructive and moves the situation forward: It does not let the person focus on attributing blame on others but focuses on how to get the situation back on track and move forward.

The non-judgemental approach is empathetic and accepts the raw emotions involved in the dispute. It is always purposeful from a neutral perspective, so it prevents time wasting on reliving or escalating a well-rehearsed story. By not agreeing or disagreeing with it, the story can be examined from a new, untainted perspective.

Conflict coaching uses several approaches to help people get out of the conflict rut and into a new, more resourceful direction. Conflict coaches will encourage reflection in the moment to help the member of staff gain a wider and more holistic perspective of their situation. It also uses reframing to move well entrenched views away from the past to a more enlightened view of the future which considers other possibilities. Reframing helps someone see a problem as an opportunity: e.g rather than resenting being micro-managed, it can provide the focus to ensure that quality standards are maintained and developed, and how another person's ideas and suggestions can be used to develop new thinking and professional skills.

In addition to the benefits of active listening, conflict coaches ask questions of the member of staff that they would never ask themselves. By creating a host of new ideas and thoughts, potential ways are identified that could be effective in improving the relationship.

What are the benefits of conflict coaching?

Conflict coaching helps individuals develop relevant communication skills and helps them express their thoughts and emotions effectively. The application of these lead to clearer and shared understanding of situations and more productive exchanges during conflict.

Through conflict coaching, individuals learn valuable conflict resolution techniques that enable them to address conflicts constructively and find solutions that meet everyone's needs.

The process encourages self-reflection, helping individuals gain valuable insights into their own behaviours, triggers, and communication patterns during conflicts. Consequently, individuals are able to manage their reactions more effectively and be more proactive and positive in conflict situations.

The conflict coaching process encourages individuals to consider the perspectives and experiences of others involved in the conflict. Developing empathy and compassion leads to more effective and meaningful communication and collaborative problem-solving.

Conflict coaching provides individuals with strategies to maintain their mental health and wellbeing during conflicts, such as relaxation techniques, and boundary setting strategies. In addition to reducing stress levels, conflict coaching promotes emotional resilience.

By improving communication, fostering empathy, and resolving conflicts effectively, conflict coaching can strengthen relationships within teams and across departments. Focusing on building relationships based on trust, respect, and shared understanding nurtures positive and healthy work environments. 

Resolving conflicts effectively through coaching is a powerful exercise in learning. It serves to prevent conflicts from escalating which lead to decreased productivity. The skills and knowledge gained ensure that individual team members can focus their energy and resources on achieving goals and objectives. By creating a culture of respect and cooperation, conflict coaching can enhance employee morale, engagement, and retention.

As a development intervention, conflict coaching helps individuals and organisations transform conflicts into opportunities for growth, learning and positive change all of which lead to healthier relationships and increased productivity.

Why is conflict coaching successful
What are the benefits of conflict coaching
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