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Spotlight on Shiv

Last year, the Resolution Institute ( , the leading Mediation and Accreditation Organization in Australia and New Zealand, published a Spotlight on Shiv as a rising star in Mediation. The following article was published in their Member Newsletter:

This week we feature mediator, lawyer, government decision-maker, and training facilitator Shiv Martin.

Shiv is Training Director for the High Conflict Institute, Assistant Information Commissioner with the Queensland Information Commissioner and Panel Mediator, Coach and Assessor with the South Queensland Dispute Resolution Branch of the Department of Justice and Attorney General. Shiv also works with the University of Newcastle and the University of Queensland in training and facilitation. She has held senior positions in Queensland and Australian government justice agencies such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Queensland Office of the Information Commissioner, and Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General.

She talks to us about her move to training and juggling multiple hats, her perspective on training/upskilling and the increasing importance of online dispute resolution in the profile below.

Branching out into training was not a conscious decision that I made. Once I became accredited as a mediator, I took the opportunity to train my government law colleagues in the micro-skills and underpinning ethos of the mediation processes, to assist in complaints management and dispute resolution. I have been quick to draw connections between the two roles and this has naturally led to more training engagements. Over the past 10 years I have also had the opportunity to support and learn from leading trainers in our industry such as Professor Tania Sourdin and Bill Eddy of the High Conflict Institute. This helped me develop my own expertise in coaching and assisting other aspiring dispute resolution professionals to navigate new skill sets from the mediation process to interest-based negotiations and managing high conflict individuals. Before becoming a mediator, I had already worked for several years as a tertiary tutor, so my role in training made use of student engagement and group facilitation skills that I had already developed. Training enables me to help and connect with a group of people in an enduring way. I have my own unique style of training, which like mediation is mainly facilitative and focused on group interaction and reflection.

Mediation has most certainly headed online in the last five years and the last month has well and truly accelerated that change. Organisational training and conflict coaching spaces are growing as more individuals and organisations would rather learn skill sets from mediators that allow them to navigate conflict, negotiate effectively, manage their emotions and address their own disputes rather than seek the involvement of a third party for each dispute that they encounter. It’s far more empowering for individuals to know how to navigate conflict themselves, rather than to request the assistance of a mediator, and I feel that there will be more work and demand in that space. I have worked mainly in government agencies, and almost every government department, tribunal and commission now has an alternative dispute resolution team. These teams utilise the mediator skill set to better deliver public services and manage complaints and review requests. While there will still be a need for mediations, there is also an increasing demand in all organisations for the facilitative skill set and calm demeanor that mediators are famous for, but in other dispute resolution roles. Juggling the different hats of mediator and trainer has not been all that difficult. I am also a statutory decision-maker and my role as an Assistant Information Commissioner (QLD) is my primary focus. However, my mediation experience enables me to train with a unique perspective. Most of my public sector training engagements have involved training people who assist individuals in dispute resolution, while making fair and legally correct decisions along the way. My work with government review bodies has provided me with extensive experience in managing high conflict and difficult behaviour. This has led directly to my training work for the High Conflict Institute. I believe that my three hats of statutory decision-maker, mediator and trainer complement each other and have allowed me to develop a diverse set of skills. To be taken seriously as a professional, and to continue to add value to the people and organisations that you work for, you need to continue to upskill. This might not necessarily mean taking numerous courses. For me, I have mostly upskilled by taking on new career opportunities, enrolling in shorter courses and webinars, and connecting and seeking mentoring and advice from more experienced mediators and trainers. I have also sought to upskill by challenging myself with new projects, particularly in digital transformation. Over the past five years, I have worked with several different organisations in the public sector that are focused on digital transformation. I have seen the remarkable progress that has been made in the space of virtual dispute resolution, from web conferencing to digital document exchange platforms. Often trialing more well-known conferencing platforms in alternative dispute resolution processes leads to concerns and roadblocks over privacy, security and suitability for the specific needs of each process. More recently, I have become familiar with purpose-built ODR platforms such as MODRON and I feel far more confident that these platforms will be able to replace the traditional face-to-face set-up that we are used to in mediation and conciliation processes. To start with, these platforms assure a greater level of security, document control and functionality for private sessions, agreement writing and follow-up that make our jobs as mediators and conciliators much easier. It also improves the efficiency of mediation processes, reduces costs for parties, and provides rural and remote parties with greater access to justice.

Having been a member of the Resolution Institute for several years now, I find that having a membership here (and additionally following the work of the Mediator Standards Board), has enabled me to keep up with the trends and connect with a community of similar professionals.

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