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2 Day In-Person Mediation Training  on Questions

Mediation Training In-Person or Blended: Option 3


Mediation Skills:



Advanced Mediation Training Option 3

2 Day – In-person or Blended training

Maximum 12 participants

This is a 2-day In-Person or Blended training that can be delivered internationally, as well as in Ireland. This advanced mediation training includes all seven modules, with thirteen film based mediation demonstrations. Suitable for workplace mediation, civil and commercial mediation, family mediation and community mediation

Public Mediator Course – Per person


Occasionally it may be delivered as a public course for advanced mediator training. Individuals can apply to participate. 

Date, time and location TBC

In-House Course

Cost TBC

Organisations can book this training for their in-house mediators.

Date, time and location TBC

The ‘S’ Questions Model Training In-Person

This advanced In-Person mediation course covers the S4: Shift Thinking Questions from the ‘S’ Questions Model as developed in the book: The Mediator’s Toolkit: Formulating and Asking Questions for Successful Outcomes.

Divided into seven modules, each module starts with delivery of the theory behind the mediation question type with tips on how to ask effective mediation questions to achieve a paradigm shift in a party’s thinking and approach to their conflict.  It is explained using motion graphic presentations and eleven filmed role-played mediations to demonstrate mediation questioning skills on how to develop and ask great open mediation questions.
Provides mediator training to formulate appropriate questions to ask in mediation. and also provides sample mediation questions to ask during different stages of mediation and templates of questions to use for different mediation strategies. 

Upskilling for mediators in Workplace Mediation, Civil & Commercial Mediation, Community Mediation, Family Mediation and all sectors of mediation.

If you want to learn from somebody who knows their job and loves it, this is the course for you. Gerry’s honesty and enthusiasm is infectious. Brilliant facilitation and invaluable knowledge.

Ken Quinn, Wexford.

FREE Introductory Module 1

Module 1a – Advanced Mediation Course: The Context for Creating a Paradigm Shift

This module shows the goals that need to be achieved when a mediator asks questions in mediation. Mediators will learn how the distortion, deletion and deficit of communicated information can hinder or block conflict resolution and the physiological changes that occur when parties are in conflict.

Module 1b – Advanced Mediation Course: Use of The ‘S’ Questions Model and its Application

This module gives an overview of the framework of the ‘S’ Questions Model and the four dimensions of questions within that model. It also introduces the ‘Film Case Scenario’ that will be used as the context for all the filmed role plays in the other modules and the ‘Practice Case Scenario’ that will be used in exercises during in-class learning for those who book the In-Person mediation training or the online mediation training. 

Mediation Training Video: The Context for Creating a Paradigm Shift - 26 mins

This advanced mediation training module shows the context that needs to be factored into the way we work as mediators in Workplace mediation, Civil & Commercial mediation, Community mediation or Family mediation when asking effective mediation questions. You will learn how the distortion, deletion and deficit of communicated information can hinder or block conflict resolution and the physiological changes that occur when parties are in conflict.

The 'S' Questions Model course was developed by Gerry O'Sullivan in her book: 'The Mediator's Toolkit: Formulating and Asking Questions for Successful Outcomes'.

This video introduces the mediator training for covering the four dimensions of The ‘S’ Questions Model:
S1: Subject
S2: Structure
S3: Seeking Information
S4: Shift Thinking

Module 2

Shift Thinking: Journey of Inference Questions

The mediation film contained in this training course module sets the context for the dispute that will be the focus of all the mediation training films.  This mediation film illustrates the interpretations and assumptions that parties made about the conflict situation and how this led to their misunderstanding of each other and to the positional stance that they took. These searching Journey of Inference mediation questions make a mediation participant’s unconscious thinking process conscious. This introduces new insight to the parties and creates understanding between them. These powerful mediation questions shift a party’s perspective from their old and positional narrative towards a more collaborative narrative. This mediation questions technique will radically improve a mediator’s skills and competency level. (Demonstration mediation film is done with both parties in the room during a plenary joint meeting.)

Note: These Journey of Inference mediation questions are a derivation from The Ladder of Inference developed by Chris Argyris

Module 3

Shift Thinking: Other People Questions

The first mediation training film in this module demonstrates how to ask paradigm shifting mediation questions to challenge Mediation Party Kathy’s Journey of Inference (interpretations, assumptions and conclusions) by using Other People Questions which demonstrate how this can be done in a safe way. The second mediation film demonstrates how to formulate and ask Other People Questions with both parties in the room together during a later stage of mediation. 

These exploratory mediation training questions open the minds of parties and make it easier for them to respond to questions when they are acting in an intransigent manner which might invoke a feeling of threat from the other party. They facilitate a party to think cognitively, rather than from an ‘avoid-threat reflex’ state and they create understanding and illustrate empathy between parties. (The two mediation demonstration films show how these mediation skills and techniques can be used safely during separate caucus meetings or during joint plenary meetings with parties in the room together.)

Module 4

The two mediation demonstration videos in this module demonstrate how to ask challenging mediation questions in a gentle way. They cover separate meetings with one of the parties, Kathy, during which a change in her thinking starts to evolve as a result of the mediation questions posed. As a result, Kathy starts to become less stuck in her narrative and gains more clarity as to what she needs to say to the other party during their conversation at their joint session.

Module 4a: Shift Thinking: Neurolinguistic Programming based Questions

These mediation questions asked of a party during an initial private mediation session bring clarity and explore subjective realities, reconnecting a party’s language, along with its deletions, distortions and generalisations, with their actual experience. They separate a party’s ‘fears’ from the ‘facts’ and support a party to shift from being strongly defensive of their mediation position to considering other possibilities and interpretations. These questions lead to a change in a party’s subjective reality and thinking. (Demonstration mediation film is done asking mediation questions at a separate private meeting)

Module 4b: Distinctions and Differences Questions

These mediation questions also bring clarity and they explore subjective realities. Specifically, they enable a party to see the conflict from a broader perspective. These help a mediator to bring clarity, relevance and boundary to the mediation process. They bring measurement regarding something that requires more clarity such as the extent of the effect of the dispute on parties; the level of understanding between them; the progress made during the mediation process; and whether a particular solution will meet their needs. These strategic mediation questions lead to an adjustment of a party’s thinking and a change to their approach to the dispute. (Demonstration mediation film is done asking mediation questions of one party at a separate or caucus meeting)

Module 5


Shift Thinking: Cognitive Elements Based Questions

This mediation training video of a mediation case is during a private meeting with Mediation Party Tom and it shows how to identify the conflicting thoughts that brought him into a state of inner turmoil or cognitive dissonance. Using this knowledge, the mediator demonstrates, through theoretical input and a filmed mediation done through role-play, how to use simple challenging and powerful mediation questions so that a party can lessen their inner conflict.  This enables a party to return to clear and logical thinking where they will be able to identify resolutions for settlement of the dispute. By returning to this state of cognitive consonance, a party can start to think logically and make clear decisions. These powerful mediation questions gently challenge a mediation party who is strongly defending their mediation position or who appears to be defending their position even though they have inner reservations about what they have done. They support a party to explore this dissonance so that they can get to the root of their inner conflict, and make decisions about what they need to address in the joint session. (Demonstration mediations are done with one party at an initial private mediation meeting.)

Module 6

Shift Thinking: Underlying Interests Questions

The two mediator training videos in this module show how to ask exploratory mediation questions that will shift parties in conflict from positional to underlying interest level. These powerful underlying interests questions go beneath a party’s position and get to the core of their conflict. They are particularly valuable questions when parties are entrenched and the mediation reaches impasse. It may only be necessary to ask these questions of one party privately, if only one party is blocking solutions. 

If you are wondering what mediation questions to ask when there is a high degree of emotion in the room leading to a fight-fight-freeze situation, then there is firstly a need to identify the area in which a party may have been impacted, and only then ask exploratory mediation questions about that area of impact. This mediator training will list and describe the elements that need to be explored  so that any mediation agreement meets the underlying interests of both parties.  One of the many ways to do this is by asking mediation questions based on Dr. David Rock’s SCARF Model and these, as well as asking mediation questions about other important areas of impact, both conscious and unconscious, are also demonstrated on the mediation film in this module.  Mediation tips, techniques and guidelines are also covered during the theoretical inputs before and after the role-played film.

When underlying interests are reached and explored, parties then become less emotional and are able to think cognitively and make decisions .Identifying conscious or unconscious underlying interests provides a platform from which appropriate agreements that meet a party’s underlying interests are reached, rather than from their positional demands which are often only quick solutions that may not be sustainable.   (Demonstration film for mediator training is done with both parties in the room at a plenary joint mediation session.)


Module 7

There are two mediation films in this module that are shown during the In-Person training: the first is with Kathy at an initial separate mediation meeting where she is despairing that Tom will never stop apologising and harassing her. The second mediator training film covers both parties in the session together.

Module 7a: Future Focus Questions

Future Focused questions can change the state of a person so that they begin to think logically rather than emotionally. This allows them to safely think through the kind of agreements that could meet their underlying interests and needs. These questions paint a possible hypothetical, conditional or consequential picture on which parties can reflect and make decisions, from outside their current paradigm. These questions move a party off the conflict treadmill and lessen the chance of a party having an amygdala hijack and thinking from an emotional perspective. They also assist a mediator to remain neutral and impartial, while facilitating the mediation principle of self-determination.  (Demonstration films are done with one party on their own as well as with both parties in the room)

Module 7b: Shift Thinking: Reflective Connecting Questions

Reflective Connecting questions facilitate a party or parties to see the cycle of conflict that developed between them and how each of their actions may have led to a reaction from the other. This mediator training enables mediators to support mediation parties in making connections and links between various facets of a conflict, thus broadening and expanding their thinking. These questions increase understanding and facilitate the parties to agree actions should an incident like this arise in the future.(Demonstration mediation film is done with both parties in the room)

An essential next step for anyone who has done the theory of mediation and anyone who wants to up-skill.

Muriel Walls, Walls & Toomey Solicitors, Dublin

“Excellent course, Gerry’s warmth and enthusiasm was infectious.”

Declan McBrearty Irish Prison Service