The latest mediation features and events

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November 2015


Upcoming Events

Articles, Blogs and Resources

Collaboration is a habit of mind, solidified by routine and predicated on openness, generosity, rigour and patience. It requires precise and fearless communication, without status awe or intimidation.”
Margaret Heffernan - A Bigger Prize

Reflecting on Paris

The events of Pairs are horrific and stretch our tolerance to the limit. For mediators, what role can we play in acknowledging the tragedy in Paris (and also last week in Beirut), and of course those tragedies in other places over the years, while making a plea for peaceful cooperation to defeat the extremes, wherever possible? We are, after all, committed to finding peaceful resolution wherever we can.

It is easy to fall into a cycle of violence but, as we have seen in responses to 9/11 and July 2005 in London, vilifying groups and launching indiscriminate attacks may only increase the risk. Indeed, the cycle can be self-perpetuating. We may create the very thing we fear. In the UK, we learned that the only way to end years of violence, atrocities and hundreds of deaths in Northern Ireland was to engage in negotiations and build trust. 

Extremists wish to provoke us into fear-based responses. Somehow, in the aftermath of something as horrible as the events in Paris, we need to rise above the fight or flight response, and think differently. Our mediation experience demonstrates daily the importance of this.

I note that even the fearless “Bishop of Baghdad”, Canon Andrew White, accepts that some of these people cannot be negotiated with. That may be so. If so, we need to focus efforts on all those who might be grouped superficially with the extremists, but with whom there are still opportunities for engagement - and seek to engage with them. I say “we” knowing that it is generally not “us”, but those who represent us, who will do this. But we have examples and experiences to draw on and to offer. And we can be a voice for pause and reflection at the most painful of times. Scapegoating, indiscriminate verbal and physical attacks, stereotyping, discrimination, and so on, will not help us but only push people away.

It’s not easy. We know that. At a deep, visceral level, we are all wounded. But, in our humanity, we can transcend this.

John Sturrock

Open and Closed Doors: A Mediator's Tale

I’ll start with a story. Bear with me as it unfolds. I'll discuss the learning later. Here goes:

The door closed behind me and I descended the stairs. I often take the stairs in hotels to get some exercise. Sometimes, the stairs combine as a fire exit. But you can (nearly) always get out at the floor leading to reception. On this occasion, however, three floors down, there was no exit to reception. The only exit seemed to be another flight down onto the street but, seen from further up the stairs, the door was clearly marked with a notice in red capitals: “Do not open except in an emergency. Fines may be levied. Opening this door will activate fire alarms and water sprinklers.”

There was nothing for it but to retrace my steps back up four flights.

Read on here...

Using Mediation Skills: 2016 Courses

Spring School:*
Using Mediation Skills as a Professional
25 - 27 April 2016 
Residential Summer School:*
Using Mediation Skills as a Leader
28 - 31 August 2016

Module 2: 
Building Mediator Competence 
Spring: 26 - 27 May 2016
Autumn: 27 - 28 October 2016

Module 3: 
Spring: 2 - 3 June 2016
Autumn: 3 - 4 November 2016

* Note that the Spring School and the Summer School are available as free standing three day courses. They are also a prerequisite for attending Modules 2 and 3.

You can find more information about our Flagship Mediation Training Courses here

Register here for early bird rates.

For any questions or to express your interest, please contact us at 0131 524 8188 or email

What they say about our training

"This was without doubt the most energising, fulfilling, thought provoking and challenging course I have ever attended. The enthusiasm, depth of knowledge, commitment and belief shared by the course leaders was inspiring...I have come away with knowledge and understanding of a process which will be of huge benefit professionally and personally." Summer School participant

"Completing this course is honestly the best thing I have ever done. Such a privilege to be part of, and a huge enabler for me to reset my vision for where to go next." Senior Health Service manager

“In one sentence, it was an enriching, energising, challenging and immensely rewarding experience. I learned a lot about mediation and I also learned a lot about myself. It wasn’t easy but it was, without doubt, worth it.  
The course leaders were just fantastic, so much at the top of their game, with a genuine passion for the power and potential of mediation and a breadth of knowledge and understanding about it which they shared so generously with us. It was genuinely inspiring. And it was fun!    
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the course ….what was provided over the 3 days at Blair Castle was unquestionably excellent value for money. The venue was an inspired choice and the hospitality offered by the staff there couldn’t be faulted. The whole experience was enhanced by the immensely supportive and collaborative atmosphere among all the participants during long and intense days and then relaxing and talking and laughing over delicious dinners at night. 
I can happily report that, even now, almost two months later, I still think about what I learned on the course on a daily basis and endeavour to put it into practice both professionally and personally.”
Local authority leader

"I thought that the course was fantastic. Easily one of the best that I have ever been on. We learned skills and techniques that I will put to use every single day. John, Charlie and Liz were all first class." Solicitor with a leading firm

"Core Solutions training in mediation is first class - easily the most transformational course I have ever attended. The learning and skills developed have already paid dividends, unlocking some challenging situations and delivering results within days. John Sturrock and his colleagues are leaders in their field and freely shared their expertise with warmth, compassion and joy. If you have the opportunity to attend this course do all you can to make it happen." Scottish Government senior official

Women Leaders…Become the leader you want to be! 

Two day workshop with Hetty Einzig and Liz Rivers

March 21 and 22, Edinburgh

“I highly recommend this course. It gave me time to think about me, my business and my leadership – I left feeling completely inspired, re-invigorated and raring to go.” 
Rachael Mills, Director, SE2 Ltd

You will learn how to:
  • Make the most of your unique skills, talents and strengths
  • Identify your purpose
  • Deal with negative people and situations
  • Develop and protect your own energy sources
  • Understand the difference between leading and managing
  • Overcome your fears of being visible
  • Get more done with greater ease and less effort
  • Cultivate a solid core of self belief so you are less dependent on the opinions of others
  • Speak powerfully - be persuasive and compelling
How it works:
The workshop is highly practical, combining precious space for reflection with focussed action. Hetty and Liz are known for the high degree of trust they create, allowing you to “drop the mask” and be seen for who you really are.

Read more and register here.

Core Staffing

Sarah Osborne has been back with Core, assisting with research, marketing and the mediation flagship training course. Sarah soon heads off on travels to Europe but will retain her links with Core. Miriam Haboubi has been promoted to Business and Mediation Manager, which she well deserves! Miriam can be contacted on  
+44 (0)131 524 8188 and

Broader Horizons

Recently, John Sturrock was the keynote speaker at the annual ADR conference of the Queensland Bar. He delivered several sessions to the audience of more than 70, many of whom are practising mediators and regular mediation "advocates", in a jurisdiction where mediation is well established as a central part of the civil justice system. John discussed several aspects of the mediation process including:
  • Effective Preparation;
  • Using the Opening Two Hours to Real Effect;
  • Creative Negotiation; and
  • Ensuring an Agreement is Reached.
John commented: "It was a privilege to be welcomed by fellow members of the Bar on the other side of the world and to share experiences. My host, Ian Hanger AM QC, is a pioneer in mediation in Australia and a real leader in the field globally."

Chambers Rankings: John Sturrock in Band One for UK Mediators

Described as a "Fantastic listener" and "a leading figure in the UK mediation market, praised for being 'flexible in his approach and for always remaining sensitive to the differing interests of the parties involved'".

Legal 500 says: "The ‘highly impressive’ John Sturrock QC at Core Solutions Group Limited ‘has the gravitas to win the confidence of both sides from the outset’. Clients note his ability to employ ‘insight, judgement, and emotional intelligence’ and ‘to know instinctively both when to push the parties hard, and when to back off and let discussions between the parties bridge gaps'".

Core Reading


Leadership Embodiment: How the Way We Sit and Stand Can Change the Way We Think and Speak 

This is an excellent exploration of how our physical presence impacts on how we perform and are perceived by others. The section on neuro-biology in particular is fascinating with its discussion of the different parts of the brain and how they function. A good companion to Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow.


Purpose Driven Women

Despite the gender balance in today’s profession, female lawyers still face particular challenges in reaching senior positions, according to Core Mediator and Coach, Liz Rivers, who presents five things women can do to improve their prospects.

Read more in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland here.

When stepping back may be best way forward for legal eagles

APPARENTLY, Harvard University has developed a module for its first-year undergraduates entitled Reflecting on Your Life. It is reported that before they get stuck in the grind of academic achievement, students are encouraged to ask themselves some questions: what are their deepest values? How do they spend their time? What do they want their lives to look like?

Read the full article in The Scotsman here.

The Final Word

It can be done!

Tunisian national dialogue quartet wins 2015 Nobel peace prize

“The quartet paved the way for a peaceful dialogue between the citizens, the political parties and the authorities and helped to find consensus-based solutions to a wide range of challenges across political and religious divides,” it said.

“The broad-based national dialogue that the quartet succeeded in establishing countered the spread of violence in Tunisia and its function is therefore comparable to that of the peace congresses to which Alfred Nobel refers in his will.”

Read more here.

Follow us on twitter at @Core__Solutions, and also follow John Sturrock a@coremediation.

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