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Live Online Mediation Questions Training

Training Online – Live through Zoom

Mediation
Questions

Training Option 1

Four half days – Live Online Training course (Zoom)

Maximum 12 participants.

Advanced mediation questions training course with Gerry O’Sullivan, with filmed video demonstrations.

Plenary and small group discussions and exercises. Break-out room and fishbowl role plays to practice the use of the questions.

Highly interactive and informal.

Per person

€429

Training Course Date Options

  • 2023 January Course 12, 13, 19, 20
  • 2023 February Course 22, 23 & March 2, 3

13.30 to 17.30 GMT – Thursday and Fridays

The ‘S’ Questions Model

This advanced training 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 skills on how to ask powerful mediation questions.

Continuing professional development (CPD) for mediators in Workplace Mediation, Civil & Commercial Mediation, Community Mediation, Family Mediation and all sectors of mediation.

‘ …. even though I have mediated 50 plus scenarios this was a real eye opener with lots of take aways for next week’s mediation.

Martin Medforth
CMC Registered Mediator (Civil, Commercial, Workplace and Employment) at Eynhallow Ltd., U.K.

FREE Introductory Module 1

Module 1a: The Context for Creating a Paradigm Shift

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

Module 1b: 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 shift thinking mediation 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 the learning for those who book the online training.

Module 1a The Context for Creating a Paradigm Shift

The images above are of role-played mediation and it is not a real case.

Module 1b The Use of The 'S' Questions Model

Module 2

Shift Thinking: Journey of Inference Questions

The mediation film contained in this module sets the context for the dispute, giving 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 take. These searching Journey of Inference mediation questions make an unconscious thinking process conscious, and they introduce new insight to the parties that creates understanding between them. They shift a party’s perspective from their old narrative towards a new and more healthy narrative. This mediation questions technique will dynamically improve a mediator’s skills and competency level. (Demonstration mediation film is done at a plenary meeting with both parties in the room)

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

Module 3

Shift Thinking: Other People Questions

The first mediation film in this module demonstrates how to ask powerful 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 film demonstrates how to formulate and ask Other People Questions with both parties in the room together during a later stage of mediation. 

These searching mediation questions broaden the perspectives of parties and make it easier for them to respond to questions which might otherwise invoke a feeling of threat. 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 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 videos in this module demonstrate how to ask paradigm shifting and transformative mediation questions. They cover private caucus meetings with one of the parties, Kathy, during which a paradigm shift starts to take place within her as a result of the mediation questions she is asked. As a result, Kathy starts to become less defensive and more congruent in her communication and will be better prepared for the joint mediation meeting.

Module 4a: Shift Thinking: Neurolinguistic Programming based Questions

These mediation questions asked of a party during a private mediation meeting 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 move from a place of intransigence. These questions lead to an adjustment of a party’s subjective reality and a paradigm shift in their thinking and approach. (Demonstration mediation film is done asking mediation questions of one party at a separate caucus meeting)

Module 4b: Distinctions and Differences Questions

These mediation questions also bring clarity and explore subjective realities. Specifically. they enable a party to step back from the conflict and view it with an alternative perspective. These mediation questions support a mediator to bring clarity, relevance and boundary to a conflict. They bring measurement regarding something that requires more precise information such as the extent of an impact on parties; the level of understanding reached; the progress made during the mediation process; the appropriateness of solutions etc. These questions lead to an adjustment of a party’s subjective reality and a paradigm shift in their thinking and approach. (Demonstration mediation film film is done asking mediation questions of one party at a separate caucus meeting)

Module 5

Shift Thinking: Cognitive Elements Based Questions

This mediation video demonstrates a private caucus meeting with Mediation Party Tom and it shows how to identify his clashing cognitive elements resulting in cognitive dissonance within him. Using this knowledge the mediator demonstrates, through theoretical input and filmed role-played mediation cases, how to use safe, but challenging mediation questions so that a party can identify future actions in order to return to a state of cognitive consonance. By returning to this state, a party can start to think logically and make rational decisions. These exploratory mediation questions gently and safely challenge a mediation party who is strongly defending their entrenched position or who appears to be in ‘denial’. They facilitate a party to explore their dissonance so that they can get to the root of their inner conflict, and make decisions about how they need to address their conflict in the joint session. (Demonstration filmed mediation case is done with one party at a separate caucus mediation meeting)

Module 6

Shift Thinking: Underlying Interests Questions

The two mediation videos in this module show how to ask deeper mediation questions that will move parties in conflict from positions to underlying interests. These effective exploratory mediation questions go below the surface of a party’s position and can lead to the core of their conflict and to their underlying interests and needs. They are particularly valuable questions when parties are stuck 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 questions about that area of impact.

This training will list and describe the elements that are important to us as humans and that need to be explored so that any agreed mediation settlement 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 questions about other important areas of impact, both conscious and unconscious, are also demonstrated on the mediation video in this module.  Mediation tips, techniques and guidelines are also covered during the theoretical input.

Identifying these conscious or unconscious underlying interests provides a platform from which appropriate and sustainable agreements that meet a party’s underlying interests are reached, rather than from their positional demands.   Parties then become less emotional and are able to think cognitively and make decisions. (Demonstration film is done with both parties in the room at a plenary joint mediation session.)

Module 7

There are two films in this module, the first is with mediation party Kathy at an initial separate meeting where she is despairing that mediation party Tom will never stop apologising and harassing her. The second film covers both parties in the session together.

Module 7a: Future Focus Questions

Asking Future Focused questions is one of the best mediation strategies or techniques that  can change the state of a person so that they begin to think logically rather than at a high emotional level. This allows them to safely think through the kind of strategies or agreements that could meet their underlying interests and needs, while the mediator remains impartial and does not breach the principle of self-determination. These questions paint a possible hypothetical, conditional or consequential picture on which parties can reflect and make decisions, from outside their current paradigm. The hypothetical and conditional 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. The Future Focused consequential questions cover the BATNA, MLATNA and WATNA questions that hep a party to weigh up the pros and cons of their situation. (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 mediation 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. They enable parties to make connections and links between various facets of a conflict, thus broadening and expanding their thinking and gaining new insight. These questions increase understanding and facilitate the parties to agree actions should an incident like this arise in the future. (Demonstration film is done with both parties in the room)

The ‘S Questions Model’ is one of the most meaningful and useful trainings I’ve experienced – a truly transformative model of questioning. Gerry teaches the art of asking questions on a whole new level. I will never mediate or coach in the same way again..

Kathleen Young, Massachusetts, U.S.A

Gerry is a question wizard. She knows exactly what type of question to ask to unlock a situation. Her poise, calm manner and extensive experience with which she asks even incisive and uncomfortable questions are exemplary. I enjoyed the online training and her sharing of knowledge and skills tremendously.

Naett Atkinson, Co-Founder at Let’s Resolve, South Africa