Being a reflective practitioner is critical to being an effective mediator, ombuds, conflict coach, and any other conflict resolution role. The preceding statement is nothing new- I have said it many times on this blog as well as many others having said it in many other outlets.
A reflective practice can, and should be multi-faceted. Reflecting alone (perhaps by writing in a journal or taking time to review a recently concluded session) is beneficial but I do not think it should be the sole method of reflection. Just as we engage others during our job, engagement should also be a staple to our reflective practice.
I have been gravitating more towards academic research recently (I am currently striving towards a PhD with Griffith University Law School) and as part of my reflective practice, I took time away from my writing on nonverbal communication and mediation to do a brief survey on... well nonverbal communication and mediation!
I think the brief survey has already given me some valuable quantitative data which can (or should!) be further elaborated with qualitative means (that's what my PhD will attempt to do). What this information has allowed me to do is to reflect on various nonverbal elements which has a direct role in me being an effective, or in-effective, mediator. The second step then is after that personal reflection is to then see how it compares to others.
The comparison is not from the mindset of someone being "right" or "wrong" but rather seeing other peoples opinions and thoughts. Here's some quick tidbits:
21 mediators 65% were certified mediators 35% not certified
Mediator's Introduction (n=20) 60% believe it is very important 40% believe it is important
Believe Nonverbal Communication is important for mediators (n=21) 65% very important 35% important
Appearance 68% think a mediator (male) wearing a suit is not appropriate for community mediation (n=19) 100% think a mediator (male) wearing a suit is appropriate for divorce mediation (n=20)
I'll save my interpretations and opinions for another post. I'd much rather hear/read what everyone else has to say.