I was having coffee with an old client last week, an HR Director from the Rank Group. We hadn’t seen each other since I trained him and his colleagues to become accredited workplace mediators, and we were catching up on work and our kids. He posed an interesting question that I have been reflecting on ever since.
He asked me ‘Do you think that becoming a parent has made you a better mediator?’ My immediate response was that it was other way around, and that I am a better parent because I use my workplace mediation skills. I am more patient (well…most of the time!), I listen and empathise, and I don’t try and solve their problems for them.
But perhaps becoming a parent has changed my perspective too. The other day, my 5 year old asked me what I did in a workplace mediation, and I told him how I helped people who were having arguments with each other, and he told me it sounded boring! I responded that being a mediator was anything but boring, but it made me smile and brought some humour to a job that can sometimes seem void of laughter.
I think mediation and conflict resolution skills inform everything I do, whether it’s parenting, or how I interact with my friends and family. It’s all work in progress, but I’m confident that the core mediation principles will stand me in good stead.