We all have to start somewhere.
While we occasionally hear a senior practitioner query why they would train “the competition”, most mediators understand that, in expanding the pool of mediators, we all benefit from more work.
This is because welcoming new mediators boosts the discourse on mediation: the more that people hear about someone training to be a mediator, or starting a mediation practice, the greater the possibility that a member of the public thinks of mediation as a possibility to explore when conflict arises.
While there are numerous benefits for mentees, those who mentor also benefit from the relationship. Through mentoring, there is a mutual learning that allows both participants to develop transferable skills that will add to their respective experiences and expertise.
Increase your referral pool
Your mentee may well be a direct source of referral. Here are some possible scenarios:
- Perhaps your mentee is trying to build their own practice, but is aware that they are not ready to conduct a complex mediation on their own. They therefore invite you to co-mediate because they already know you can work together;
- Because they have their name out there as a mediator, your mentee’s network generates queries about mediation in an area they have no expertise or interest in practicing, and you are their first choice for a referral;
- They may have a conflict of interest in a case that comes their way;
- Perhaps they continue their day-to-day job as they build their mediation practice and have their own clients (or colleague’s clients) to refer to mediation.
There are multiple ways in which the development of a good mentor partnership can result in referrals from your mentee.
Reinforce subject know-how
A significant number of potential mentees will come from a different professional background than yours, and while you are the communication and process expert, mentees can offer valuable topical expertise to you and your client.
Mentees can be a valuable asset to support your mediation administration overall. They are eager to learn how to run a mediation business and can add valuable support to you during the planning and debriefing stages of your mediation sessions.
Fine-tune leadership skills
Mediators are communication wizards and process experts. Working with a mediation mentee can help to fine-tune your leadership skills. Make use of the constructive feedback mechanisms between you and your mentee and allow yourself to be challenged.
As a mentor you are imparting knowledge and your own experiences. Yet, mentoring is a two-way street. Your mentoring might introduce you to new approaches which allow you to challenge yourself. The benefit of such reflection is immediate, and improves your skills.
Boost your energy
Making time for others who want to learn from you removes any doubt of your worth. Transferring what you have established and sharing your victories and lessons learned can be exhilarating. The enthusiasm that derives from mentoring can be infectious and offers a great source of fresh energy.
Refresh your knowledge and skills
The more recent generations of mediators are technology-savvy and often fresh from training. If you need support around technology, not only can they help bring you up to date with innovative online tools, managing your online operations (such as conducting online mediations) you can re-fresh your own learning by observing their user of the latest mediation techniques and ‘tricks’.
- Angela Herberholz & Emma Ewart Keir: Ensure the Future Through Mentoring and Practice Programs for New Mediators – www.mediate.com/mediation2020/article.cfm?zfn=herberholz-key3-mentoring.cfm
- Sharon Sutherland: 5 Ways Co-Mediating Benefits Your Own Mediation Business https://truenorthdm.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/posts-on-mentoring-and-co-mediation/
- Dominique Panko: So, You Need a Mentor? – http://mediationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/2019/07/16/so-you-need-a-mentor/
- See also Tips for YMI Mentors: https://imimediation.org/ymi/become-ymi-mentor/tips-for-mentors/