Following a successful career in human resources, Allegra wanted to be her own boss and now supports staff experiencing workplace difficulties
How did you get your job as a mediator?
I began my own coaching and mediation business after working in HR for large organisations, including the NHS. I felt passionate about using the relevant skills I'd developed working in HR management to help organisations and employees.
What's a typical day like?
There's a lot of variety at different stages of the mediation process. I might have initial discussions with clients at the beginning of the process, or find out how things have gone after mediation.
Mediation sessions might take a whole day, depending on the complexity of the issues and personalities involved. These happen at different locations, where I'm responsible for the day running smoothly.
I spend time promoting my business through networking, as most of my work comes through word of mouth, as well as completing administration for contracts and managing telephone enquiries.
I also provide private one-to-one coaching sessions with clients to help with their goal setting. Facilitative mediators support participants to resolve their own issues. A coaching approach helps participants reach their own conclusions about a way forward.
What do you enjoy most about mediation?
Untangling and resolving issues is the most rewarding part of my role. To end an issue with a plan and see people relieved to be moving on is satisfying. I like to leave a situation where people feel more empowered and independent.
What are the challenges?
You have to think on your feet and be flexible, as every case is different. Some information isn't disclosed, so being aware of what isn't being said is crucial.
Being able to understand other people's emotions, witnessing their feelings, then getting them back into the room to talk again without taking sides, is vital.
How is your degree relevant?
Using psychology to help me understand how people react to stress and pressure was a great starting point.
My postgraduate diploma in human resource management included essential topics for resolving issues in the workplace. I trained in the use of psychometric tools, which is helpful with post-mediation coaching.
What are your career ambitions?
I would like to grow my business further, working with more associates to support organisations and employees.
What's your advice to others interested in mediation?
- Get practical experience in a variety of workplaces across public, private and charitable sectors and research where mediation is needed, as organisations vary hugely in size and culture.
- Don't mediate in isolation. I run a mediation group every two months where we provide support to one another. This is a niche profession and sometimes you need to bounce ideas off a trusted colleague and obtain appropriate supervision.
- The responsibility for the resolution of a situation lies with the participants. You're the guide, but ultimately they'll need to decide what an acceptable way forward is.
Find out more
- Learn more about the role of a mediator.