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Mediation Telecircle

'Practice with Peers'

Each Wednesday (USA time zones)
Round Robin Session: 5pm - 7pm ET
One-Chair Session: 7:30pm - 9:30pm ET

Following are some understandings that have either gradually moved into, or we have intentionally created, about our Mediation Telecircle…  we share them with you in a desire to create ease and understanding as you contemplate joining the circle.  If you read or experience something that doesn't meet a need of yours, we welcome a request.  This group is dedicated to mutuality and respect.

(1) This is a practice group, not a teaching group

That's not to say that learning doesn't occur; most of us agree that we learn a lot. It's just that we learn by doing. We rarely spend time talking about mediation concepts. We spend our time mediating. Articulating of learning insights occurs during debriefing of the mediation session and is first person sharing of what we each experienced in our conflictant or mediator roles, or what we appreciated as observers.

Discussion of mediation concepts is left to a class or coaching environment.

(2) Requirements to join the group?

We ask that participators have taken a class from either Ike Lasater, John Kinyon, or Jim and Jori Manske. The need we are wanting to meet is for ease and flow because those on the call have a shared understanding of the mediation process we are using.

(3) Is there an expectation that members have a level of mediation proficiency?

No. We hope that you have a basic understanding of the mediation protocol that we use. Gaining proficiency in actually mediating is part of the reason that we participate in practicing.

The group is made up of people whose only familiarity with mediation is that they have just recently completed a mediation class with either Ike or John. There are also people in the group who are professional mediators. We all learn from each other and support each other.

(4) Is there are standard of fluency in nvc that is required?

Because the mediation model is based on translating experiences and stories into feelings and needs, it is useful to have some ability to do this. If you are brand new to nvc, you may find this particular practice group to be quite challenging. However, if you can hear feelings and needs, then you don't have to be advanced in nvc skill. Several of us in the telecircle have found that being the mediator and practicing in this group have greatly increased our skill.

(5) Decisions about the group protocols or individual requests, are made by the group, as a whole.

This is done usually through email requests that Jan sends to the group for feedback. Our intent is that everyone's needs be fully considered and met. We stick with the process until everyone is pleased with the decision.

(6) Jan acts as the facilitator of the group, both on the call and in fielding requests.

As our group has grown, we have begun a facilitator roster. These folks are often willing to facilitate a second line to maximize participation. Anyone can offer to be on the facilitator roster.

(7) Anyone is welcome to be the facilitator of a particular session, at any time.

All you have to do is make a request, either on the call, or via email prior to the call. If you email, please realize Jan is occasionally on the road and away from email, so if you don't receive a reply, simply ask on the call.

(8) We ask for confidentiality of what is shared in the telecircle.

(9) Please keep the call-in numbers private.

Anyone wanting call information is invited to email Jan. This is to meet needs for trust and safety for those on the call. We want to know who is on the line, rather than have new people show up unexpectedly. This has been a request of participators. It also allows Jan to check in with newcomers to make sure they have met the request of the group in regard to having taken a class from either John or Ike or Jim and Jori Manske. Thanks for your support around protecting the privacy of the call-in numbers!!!

(10) Members have agreed to send their availability info for the upcoming calls to Jan.

Members send this info at the end of every month - and Jan puts together the info for the next month's calls (who will be on which line, how many lines and facilitators are needed, etc). This info is distributed once a week to telecircle members. This is to meet the need for respect and choice for those who intend to be on each call. Since it takes a minimum of 3 to mediate, it is important to know if at least 3 people intend to participate.

There is a hidden danger to publishing the info of who will be on the calls -- it can seem that 7 people intend to show up, so it can be tempting for one person to imagine that if they change their mind they don't need to let Jan know they won't be on the call. However, if 5 people happen to think the same thing, then the 2 remaining people are left without notice. Yes, it's happened!! So, please let Jan know if your plans change so she can keep the group informed.

(11) Calendar info is a form of reserving a place on the call.

If you haven't let Jan know that you intend to participate in the call on a particular week, you are still welcome to join the call, and you may not have the opportunity to mediate. You will be invited to participate in check-in, the debriefing, and check-out. However, the opportunity to sit in the mediator's chair is accorded to those who reserve a place on the call. Otherwise, you are invited to observe the mediation.

(12) There is no participation commitment required.

You do not have to participate every week to be a part of the telecircle. We do ask that you let us know when you intend to participate, and what your relationship to the group is (ie. "I want to come twice a month").

Also, people have come into and moved out of active participation and still remained a part of the group. For example, if you will be unavailable for 6 weeks and then want to become active again, just let Jan know. It supports community cohesion and respect for participators to say hello and good-bye in terms of their active group participation pattern so the group has understanding of changes in the fabric of the group. If you decide to stop coming to the group altogether, Jan has a request that you let her know that. You are welcome to rejoin the group at another time.

(13) If a call is recorded, that is clearly disclosed at the beginning of the call, and is only done upon the agreement of those on the call.

Call recordings are available only to telecircle members and are requested to be kept private unless by specific agreement. This is to meet needs of respect, choice, and sometimes emotional safety.

(14) Silent observers are not invited.

The group prefers that people who want to be on the call, participate in at least the check-in, the debriefing, and the check-out. Anyone may "pass" at any time to taking a role as mediator or conflictant.

(15) Debriefing feedback is determined by the mediator's request at the close of their mediation period.

The facilitator asks the mediator what kind of feedback s/he would like to receive. So, s/he might ask to hear only about those things that worked. Or, perhaps the mediator is curious how a particular thing s/he tried landed for a conflictant. Mediators are always welcome to pause the mediation or the debriefing and do either self-empathy, or ask for support from the group.

In the round-robin mediations we give space for each mediator to debrief before another mediator begins.

No matter what, feedback is requested to be in the form of "when I heard….., I felt….., because my need for …… was un/met," followed by a connecting request (ie. "would you be willing to share how that was for you?)

(16) A typical telecircle call…

First, we determine who is eager to mediate. Then, we decide what conflict we want to mediate. The conflicts often derive from something in a participator's life (personal or professional).

The next thing we choose, as a group, is if we prefer to have a longer mediation where one person is in the mediator chair for all or half the time of the call, or if we prefer to do a round-robin style mediation practice.

The final setup piece is inviting those who are drawn to the conflictant roles to receive their names and ascertain any details germain to their character. If it is a particular conflict that is in support of a telecircle member, we take care to hear what pieces the member wants to have be part of the conflict. If it is a generic conflict, we sometimes don't pre-determine any details; these are generated by conflicts in an improv style.

The mediator is welcome to set the "intensity knob" for the conflictants. The knob can be on "MILD," or "MODERATE," or "INTENSE." This informs the conflictants how to play their roles to provide practice that is supportive to the mediator.

(17) The group has received some requests to do live mediation for parties who are wanting support in hearing each other.

This is a completely optional opportunity. People can belong to the telecircle and choose not to participate in any live mediations. A roster is kept of those who are willing to participate. Another roster is kept of those who do not want to be included in any live mediation activity.

The only association the live mediation forum has with the practice group is that some of the practice group members make themselves available to support people who want mediation for actual conflicts. The purpose of these mediations is to support the learning of practice group members, as well as to contribute to the well-being of the parties in conflict. These mediations do not result in legally binding outcomes.

   if you'd like to join the telecircle, or if you have questions or concerns

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