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No Mediation Without Cooperation?

No Mediation Without Cooperation?


“The thing with mediation – or just difficult conversations in general – is that you need all relevant people to want to engage with the process.” says mediator Emma Jenkings from Mosaic Mediation. What happens when not everyone wants to engage, she asks her recent article and explains that shifting focus may be the key.

When they don’t want to resolve things, but you do…

It’s an unnerving feeling, isn’t it? Being out of control.

Tim Gunn famously repeats in the TV show, ‘Project Runway’, “Make it work!”. When you are dealing with inanimate objects, that is possible. However, when you are trying to make a relationship ‘work’, you are dealing with human beings – notably averse to being told what to do. And, we can’t control what other human beings do, can we?

The great Stephen R. Covey, in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ defined the theory of having the ‘circle of influence’ and the ‘circle of concern’. The former relates to those things that you can affect and impact – essentially those things which are under your control. The latter circle relates to those things which you are concerned about but that you cannot control.

My take on his theory is that it is pointless and debilitating to focus on those things which are in the circle of concern. However, when we focus on what we can do about those things in our circle of influence, we can feel empowered. Also, there may be occasions when those actions we take regarding the circle of influence may even have a knock-on effect on those things of which we felt out of control.

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