Ep. 4: Jeanne Cleary on a Career of Facilitating Difficult Conversations

Jeanne Cleary has been facilitating difficult and transformative conversations for thirty years, in numerous settings. In her private practice in Watertown, Massachusetts, Jeanne provides family and divorce mediation, relational and couple psychotherapy, Collaborative Law Coaching, and consultation for families in transition. Jeanne is a long time core trainer for the Community Dispute Settlement Center in basic and divorce mediation, and an adjunct faculty in the graduate program of the Department of Conflict Resolution at the UMass Boston McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies. Jeanne is a long time student of mindfulness meditation and continues to be passionate about human potential through relational engagement. 

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Episode Transcript:

Rackham:

Welcome to the ADR Initiative. This is the podcast where you'll hear from successful mediators, arbitrators, collaborative law attorneys, coaches, and other alternative dispute resolution professionals about what they do, how they got here, and valuable lessons they've learned along the way. I'm your host, Rackham Karlsson. When we think of ADR, a lot of times we think mainly of lawyers doing out of court work but, of course, the world of ADR is so much bigger than that. It includes lawyers, mental health professionals, financial professionals, life coaches, and more.

Today, I'm talking with Jeanne Cleary. Jeanne has been facilitating difficult and transformative conversations for 30 years in numerous settings. In her private practice in Watertown, Massachusetts, Jeanne provides family and divorce mediation, relational and couples psychotherapy, collaborative law coaching, and consultation for families in transition.

Jeanne is a long time core trainer for the Community Dispute Settlement Center in basic and divorce mediation and an adjunct faculty in the graduate program of the Department of Conflict Resolution at the UMass Boston McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies. Jeanne is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation and continues to be passionate about human potential through relational engagement. Welcome to the show, Jeanne.

Jeanne:

Thanks, Rackham. It's a real treat to be here. Thanks for this chance.

Rackham:

It's our pleasure and I'd like to just jump right in here. Obviously, that short bio only scratches the surface of what you do. Why don't you flesh out some details and tell us about what you do in your practice today?

Jeanne:

Sure. The heart of my work is really, I would call it, helping people have difficult conversations. The relational psychotherapy part mostly focuses on the couples work which I love and it's a nice balance to the challenging work of the divorce part of what I do. Helping couples deepen their ... Sharpen their focus on what they want and their vision of what they want for themselves and their love and then also, skills and deepen their work towards ... Moving towards the more loving relationship. All of that is just a wonderful chance to do that side of the work.

Then, of course, the family mediation work includes both families in transition — maybe they're not getting divorced, maybe they're not actually married, maybe they're just at an early phase of separating and they just need some help sorting out what's important to them and how best to talk together, because usually, at that point, when folks are in transition like that, when a family's in transition, they're just not at their best. Part of what I think of my job is helping people be at their best in very difficult circumstances and challenging conversations.

The other dimension of the family mediation that I do and I find this just fascinating, too, it's not all about divorce or even separation but I've had a number of really interesting cases with adult siblings who come in and they're looking to talk together about some challenging decisions they have to make, whether it's about their elderly parents, or… I've had several cases where siblings need some help talking about how to help another sibling who is quite ill and a lot of times, that's sort of your basic decision-making on how does what, but with families, it often entails some history and some long-time psychological entanglements, perhaps ... Often some loss and some grief involved, whether it's the grief of the current situation or even some past material that has to be touched on in order to work together in the current situation. Like that. That's a little bit deeper on those pieces.

Rackham:

One of the things I really like about what you're describing is that your practice has multiple parts. I was talking with Justin Kelsey, who did mediation training last week and one of the first questions that he got was, is it possible to make a living as a mediator? That's a question that comes up a lot, and the answer is yes, it is. You can make a living doing just mediation and we know people who do that, but it's also possible that… You can make it easier on yourself, if you use those some skills that you have, not just to offer different types of mediations, so not just divorce, but this other range of things that you just described. Some people do commercial mediation. There's a whole host of ways that you can use those skills as a mediator and also, these ancillary services… Training other people on mediation, or if you're a mental health professional, doing the relational bits that aren't necessarily disputes, but as you said, difficult conversations.

Jeanne:

Exactly, Rackham. Exactly right. I think in addition to that sort of approach and attitude, helping folks to build a practice that's viable, financially viable, it also is an attitude and a way to — sort of a diversity of the work that we can do helps to feed our sense of service in our own selves so that there's a richness to it. I know that's true for me anyway. A wide range of what it is I do helps me to continue to love my work, and I guess that is one thing I will say, is that I feel so lucky that, I think for now, 30 years or so, I have continued to really love my work. Part of that is staying open to a broad range of the application of the work, so I think that's exactly right. Exactly what you said.

Rackham:

Have you ever heard the term multipotentialite?

Jeanne:

I have not. Tell me, tell me.

Rackham:

I just learned it recently myself. It's a great word. It means exactly what you've just been describing, people who get ... Who don't feel fulfilled in their work unless they're doing a variety of things. They may be related things, but it's the old concept of the Renaissance Man which used to be the ideal. Today, there's more of an ideal. Maybe it's slipping away, but there has been an ideal that you find your career, you get a well-paying job, and you stick with it, because that's how you make a living and that's how you pay the bills and that's what's expected of you. People like you, people like me and lots of other people, I think, look at themselves and say, "I have so much more that I want to be doing. I don't want to be doing just one thing."

Jeanne:

Yes, yes, yes. Actually, that ... What was the term again? Multi? Say it again.

Rackham:

Multipotentialite.

Jeanne:

Potentialite. It's consistent also with the mediator mind or the mediator ... The person of ... The work of mediation, in the sense that I know for me, I'm thinking as I'm listening to you about the part of the work, but also the part of this concept of working in this way that has to do with building bridges and making connections. It has this sense of openness and potential and sparks and then, again, making connections not only in our own heads but with other people. That's consistent with our work in mediation and also as you're talking about, a way to approach the work to keep it diversified. Absolutely.

Rackham:

Now speaking of diversity, one thing that you didn't elaborate on yet is the collaborative law coaching. Can you talk a little bit about that and where that fits in with your practice?

Jeanne:

Sure, sure. I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to exclude that for sure. It's been some of the ... In the recent years, maybe five years or so, it's been some of the richest work. It's relatively new in my many years’ practice. Yeah, it's been very interesting to step in. There's some challenges, as a mediator, to switch gears and to learn the new opportunities and the new priorities for the coach role. That's been fun and new and challenging and I love to learn new things and I also like to, of course, learn from other people and I've had some fabulous mentors and teachers in the field of collaborative law.

I'm still learning, I must say. The learning curve continues, and that work is particularly satisfying in the part where I get to work more regularly and closely with attorneys. Sometimes that's very challenging. There’s some challenging situations there. Sometimes that's a dimension of the “facilitating difficult conversations” that I need to do is between the attorneys as well as parties and such.

It's all very rich and I love the opportunity to be a part of an emerging service to folks and I also love the part where people are ... It seems to me in the field of collaborative law, people are eager to grow it and eager to try on new things. At the same time, it seems like there's the hard work of balancing new and growth with some parameters and some best practices, so that's all interesting stuff. I'm enjoying being a part of that.

Rackham:

It is interesting and there's always… In any new case with ... I'm a collaborative attorney and any new case with an attorney who haven't work with before, there's always this process of feeling everybody out and saying, "What are our respected expectations of this process? What role each of us play?" That can differ a little bit from case to case. Your role as coach is so vital to that, to helping just facilitate conversations around process not even involving the clients.

Jeanne:

Right, right. Exactly, exactly. Yeah, it's been a wonderful opportunity and challenge both. I really do like the spirit and the intention of the process. The design is set up to really offer divorcing folks a new opportunity, with the disqualification of the attorneys for representing them in further litigation. It's just a wonderful investment or wonderful incentive for investment in the process. Anyway, that's been delightful. I really have enjoyed that — and challenging as well, yeah.

Rackham:

Yeah. What about your teaching? Can you talk about that briefly?

Jeanne:

Sure, yeah. There's the training part which I love, in part because of the wonderful folks that I get to see a couple of times a year. I've been on a training team through Community Dispute Settlement Center for many, many years, and the folks…  There's some wonderful co-trainers that I've just known, we've developed the trainings over time, and also the folks that I get to meet, the trainees. It's just a wonderful circle of people who are drawn to this work. I feel like it's this ever-expanding circle, and that's great fun.

Then the teaching part, I've taught at a couple of different places the last nine years. I've been at UMass Boston in the McCormack Graduate School Conflict Resolution Program. I love teaching at UMass Boston. To be honest, the students are committed. They're often sort of mid-career or mature students. They're often working full-time but they're very interested and eager for the work of conflict resolution and mediation. It's a mediation seminar and I teach the course, the theory part, and then I oversee the court involvement.

It's a practicum. It's a combination of a classroom and a practicum. I'm pretty sure ... I don't think I'm overstating this, I'm pretty sure this is the first program in the United States to combine in that way — for a master's program with practicum work in real-life in-court experience, with the course work. That's great fun. It does keep me up on some of the writing in the field which is great although I could use a ... I'm an adjunct faculty so just this one course I teach. I could use a little break on a semester to just refresh. I would love the luxury of being able to read more. I'm doing so much of the work that I don't get to read as much as I'd like to. I know there's a lot more coming out now. Back when I started teaching it and back when I first practiced thirty years ago, so much wasn't yet written, so it's wonderful to see people coming forth with more material and they're thinking about the practice, yeah. I love the teaching part, it's great fun.

Rackham:

One of the things that you mentioned about training new mediators, you mentioned the community and that was, for me, one of the biggest, most enlightening shifts when I got involved in ADR and mediation and collaborative law. The people who I met and the sense of community, the sense of mutual support was really very different from anything I experienced when I went to seminars about litigation techniques. People would go to those seminars and have their heads down a lot, whereas the ADR trainings tend to be a lot more collegial.

Jeanne:

Absolutely, absolutely. As I said, this field does draw just terrific folks. It's interesting, what's coming to my mind and you tell me if this is not a direction you necessarily want to go, but I'm thinking about building practice and the spirit of the mediation community over the years. One thought I have is that one of the struggles I've had is…  So I've always ... I'm not business minded in a lot of fundamental ways and I have colleagues and friends who are always telling me to think about that a little differently. At any rate, I love to sort of just do the work that I do, I love to stay with the passion I have and there's the dimension of the work for me that has a service orientation to it.

Quick aside, and I will get back to the point, but the quick aside is that when I was little, I always wanted to be a nun. I was sort of born with a certain amount of that devotion to service thing, but the problem was I wasn't Catholic so I couldn't be a nun. Anyway, there is ... I do have that passion and service which sustains me and I hope informs my work. That being said, one of the challenges I've had is I sort of don't have the headset around copyright or register, and I do tend to just put material out there and say, "Let's all share it. Let's work together."

On the one hand, that does promote a wonderful, I think, it's part of what promotes a wonderful collegial sharing, growing community. On the other hand, I think there are times I haven't been as smart as I could be around business practice and like that. Anyway that's something, I guess, by way of saying to folks, if there's an advice part here, to sit with that tension and figure out how you want to be in the spirit of sharing and growing in this field. The field is still growing, it's still relatively a new field of ADR and mediation, and collaborative law for sure. How to be in that spirit of supporting one another, sharing ideas and materials, and at the same time, we're also in a business and that's a tricky thing to dance with, I think, for some of us. It is for me.

Rackham:

Can I make some comments that might change your perspective on that?

Jeanne:

Please. Please yes.

Rackham:

One of the huge trends in marketing right now is something called content marketing. What it's about is exactly what you're doing. It's about putting out lots and lots of material for free to draw attention to yourself, to establish yourself as a thought leader so when it comes time for somebody to make a decision about, “Here's who I'd like to work with,” they think, "Oh, Jeanne, she wrote that article. She knows what she's talking about, I'm going to give her a call." Over and over again as I do in my own research on marketing, people say, "How much of it should I give away for free?" and the answer is almost invariably: pretty much everything.

Jeanne:

Well Rackham, I think I've been doing it right for a long time, I just didn't know it — so there we go. Thank you for that, though. It's actually a real thing. Content marketing, yeah. Thank you. That's helpful, very affirming.

Rackham:

That's the whole concept of having a blog, is to give away information that people find useful, that draws attention to you, is putting out checklists or spreadsheets or all other kinds of content. Videos that go viral, whatever it is. People find it and they share it with others because they find it useful or entertaining.

Jeanne:

Wonderful, wonderful. I like that. That sits with my approach and my style. I like that a lot.

Rackham:

I think you're doing it right.

Jeanne:

Oh good, thank you Rackham.

Rackham:

That's where you are today. Now, you alluded to wanting to be a nun so take us back a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your journey to where you are today.

Jeanne:

Sure. Right, wasn't Catholic, so couldn't be a nun. And then, I decided ... I think I was about six or seven that I've decided that I wanted to be ... If I couldn't be a nun, I wanted to be a crossing guard. To be honest, how I think about it is that I achieved that goal. I sometimes think about it as I'm sitting in my office and working with folks that, "Yup, it's like: okay, hold back. Stop. Danger. Safe passage. Come on this way. Come on over this way." It's a little bit of directing the traffic of conversations with a focus on sort of ‘safe enough’ conversations. I think I'm like a crossing guard, yeah.

I was thinking about ... As I was looking at the questions that you might ask, one of them was about, or several of them were about sort of building your business and I have to say that, in fact, my past has been ... Hasn't been about deciding how to build my business and then going about doing it. My past, and I feel very blessed and very lucky, has really more been about doing the work that is in front of me to some extent. To that point, I have just sort of been lucky to be the right person in the right place at certain times and then just feeling passionate about different projects and different pieces of work and it has evolved as a path.

For example, back in 1977, I help to start a home for runaway teens in Kansas City called Neutral Ground. I had just graduated with an undergraduate degree in theology, and what was I going to do with that? I just sort of found this opportunity and jumped in and then, of course, right ... In 1977, was finding myself, not only building this program with several other folks. Part of that was facilitating very conflictual conversations between teens and their parents, of course. Then within the home, the teens could stay there for up to a week or two. It's a safe haven for urgent family challenges. They would stay there and so then it was also teen-to-teen conversations and then it was staff-to-teens and staff-to-staff.

At any rate, I was thrown in early to the work of sorting out how best to help people have productive, ‘safe enough’ conversations. I always say ‘safe enough’ because these sorts of conversations are never going to actually feel safe, but we want to be focused on ‘safe enough’ so that there's some possibility for moving forward in connection, meaningful connection for folks, hopefully for many situations, decisions that need to be made and actions to be taken. Anyway, that was in '77. Then, I worked also in a ... I was an investigator a juvenile court back in the late 1970s mostly doing sexual abuse investigations, mostly because I couldn't support myself after a couple of years at the Neutral Ground Home for Runaways, so there's always that tension. The court job, the juvenile court job, was a little more stable financially, so that was a good couple of years.

In the early '80s, I came back to Boston and I was working at Suffolk Probate and Family Court. I was there as a family service officer and reporting on family matters, investigating and then reporting to the court. Then with several other folks there, I helped to start a ... We were calling it originally a mediation program for the family court at Suffolk in Boston, but then there were several dimensions of mediation that couldn't ... We couldn't implement in the court system. One of them being confidentiality, because the judges would want us to tell if we couldn't help the parties come to an agreement. The judges would say, "Well, you work for me, family service officer, so tell me what's your recommendation," and we'd say, "Well, your honor. This is mediation. We can't ... " So that was something to work out over the years. I'm pretty sure now, what they have in the court system, has evolved into what they call conflict intervention. They found their way to offer an alternative process within the structure of the family court.

After that, in 1987, I started my private practice and I offered guardian ad litem services, I took on some guardian ad litem appointments in addition to some individual and couples and family systems psychotherapy. With the guardian ad litem services way back then ... It was a long time ago. I'm old, right — so way back then, we were sort of doing it ... The judges chose who they wanted. There wasn't a list back then and so the judges would work very closely and would ask you to do what they wanted but also, there was a lot of room for creativity and for my own judgment. The point being that what I used to do is a thorough enough investigation, and I would sit down with the families and I would say, "Here are my conclusions. Here's my recommendations. Knowing that I'm about to give these to the judge, does this inform… do my conclusions and recommendations inform a conversation that I can help you have now before you go back to court?" Basically a.k.a. mediation, with a little bit of a heavy hand and the direction of some reality, the reality being the investigation conclusions. So I was doing mediations creatively within that context as well.

The other thing I had the privilege of doing is I ... Back then, there was a friend and colleague of mine, Rob Strauss and he was doing similar work in Middlesex Probate Family Court. Both of us, in our separate venues, were realizing this need that no one was filling which had to do with supervised visitation. So he and I worked back then to create something called the Meeting Place, which is a supervised visitation project. Then eventually, I was the clinical director of that part-time and then eventually, that became a program of the Cambridge Guidance Center. I'm happy to say that that's still up and running and offer, I think, an important service.

Then lastly, just ... This is probably way more detail than you want for this but ... The last 20 years or so, I've had the joy of getting to do what I really want to do which is the work of empowering people. I don't want to… I had to stop doing guardian ad litem work years ago. I'd much rather ... I'm better suited for and I'm happier doing the work of helping people ... Helping empower people, and it's tough work, because sometimes people do prefer someone else to tell them what to do. But it's kind of getting them off the hook and I actually like the work where I help people sort of stay with their feet to the fire about their problems and the path to get to their solutions. Also the work of ... Sometimes, it's actually the work of ... On some level, there's a continuum of grief and loss that people have to face in mediation, even if it's just letting go of tantruming about reality, like the reality is my wife is blah, blah, blah or my soon-to-be ex-husband. They are who they are, and that work of accepting reality is part of the challenge of what's needed for moving forward in these conversations and in the work of conflict and owning their own problem.

Anyway, all of that. I could go on and on, let me stop because I really am going on and on here, but that I love my work and that's actually the whole point for me is just the evolution over time. Circling back, less for me personally, professionally about actually deciding to build an ADR practice as much as stepping into the work in front of me and doing what I love to do and being inspired by people. I will also say that I think people are amazing creatures and I have continued to learn from every client I've ever sat with. That's part of the privilege there for me too.

Rackham:

You know, Jeanne, there are two themes — thank you for that wonderful history — there are two themes that I identified there throughout. One is, of course, the theme of service to individuals in difficult and challenging situations and you've sort of had your feet in different pools and have settled on the model of service that seems to feel right to you right now. The other thing that I heard is, repeatedly, times when you saw a need for a way that people could be of service and the structure wasn't there yet and you helped to create it. That's just so impressive that you stepped in and said, "There is a need here, I'm going to fill it,” and the fact that it doesn't exist right now doesn't mean that there isn't a need.

Jeanne:

Thank you, Rackham. I mostly, to be honest, feel like just lucky that I was at the right place at the right time but that's lovely. Thank you.

Rackham:

That's such a wonderful journey and at the same time, I'd like to sort of challenge you now because some of the best lessons that we learn are from the mistakes that we make. I'm wondering, what is the biggest or one of the biggest business mistakes that you've made in the evolution of your practice?

Jeanne:

Well, thank you for that challenge. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made overtime, and it's not a one mistake thing but more of an ongoing piece, is I wish earlier on I had figured out that it's okay to name and claim what I do well, and not think that I'm supposed to do all of that other stuff of running a business well, as well. In other words, recognizing and creating the structure for myself, speaking of creating structures, creating the structure for myself to more comfortably do what I do well and ... What's the word…?

Rackham:

Delegating?

Jeanne:

Thank you, delegating. Right. I don't even have the words for it but delegating earlier more administrative or that kind of thing. I think that's partly ... Has been my own just blind side to ... Or maybe the insecurity in me that thinks I'm supposed to do it all myself or something like that or the fact that I've just been so busy that I don't always… Over the years, I haven't created sort of check-in points for myself to come up for air and say ... That's actually a second thing, come up for air and take a look and say, "Where do I want to go? Where am I now? Where do I want to go?"

In that process, had I done that more, I might have figured out earlier that I could get more support and I don't have to do every piece of running a business. I don't actually want to run a business, I want to do what I do, to be honest, but I would love ... Even now, I will say that I've smartened up a little bit. In the last couple of years, I have had a fabulous case manager/administrative person come on board and she's so terrific and it's so wonderful to get that help.

I'm sure for lots of folks, for lots of folks who might listen, they're chuckling like ... It's so obvious to somebody else but for me, it's just wasn't. I sort of just didn't get, "Right, I don't have to do it all." I can get somebody else to come in and run much of the business part. I can inform it and I can have a vision and I can have, of course, input, but to have somebody do that part would have been —earlier than I had figured that out — it would have been great. That was the mistake, I think, I made, yeah.

Rackham:

It's not, at all, as obvious as you might think it is. This has been a recurring theme in my conversations with people that they wish that they had brought on help sooner. There is so much information out there about delegation, maybe it's a virtual assistant, maybe it's somebody who comes into your office, maybe it's — you know, I'm outsourcing the editing of this podcast; there's no reason that I should spend my billable time taking out the ums and ahs from this podcast, for example. Every single person I've spoken with who said they brought somebody on says, “It's wonderful, I wish I had done it sooner.”

Jeanne:

Great to hear I'm not alone. Well, I hope that's helpful to other folks who are starting up or in the business and maybe they can do it sooner than some of us have. That's great.

Rackham:

Now on the flip side of that, what would you say is the single best business decision you've made in the evolution of your practice?

Jeanne:

Right. I'm not sure ... What comes to mind, of course, is just simply the flip of that. The best decision was to create a structure and a system in which I can do what I love to do and what I'm best at, what fits me, suits me and to delegate some of this other work, the part of supporting the business. I mean, I guess that's just the best decision I've made. I'd say that, and/or maybe I'd say also something along the lines and this is just ... I'm coming up with this right now, I haven't thought about this beforehand but something along the lines of ... I think one of the best decisions in my work has been to enjoy it all, which I have, and I do think that's a decision. I don't think that's necessarily something that just happens to us. I think we can decide, especially in this field that's so rich and the possibilities for satisfaction are really great. To really decide to enjoy it.

Rackham:

I think that's a really good point. That's great advice. I think it's something that's easier to do — even if your work has some challenging aspects — it's easier to do if you've made the conscious decision that this is the work that I want to do and you're not in it just because you don't feel that there are other options.

Jeanne:

Right, right, right.

Rackham:

Now, shifting gears a bit. ADR professionals, especially solos, are often looking for tools to make things easier for themselves and for their clients, so what's one digital or online resource that you think every ADR professional should have in their toolbox?

Jeanne:

I'm going to say two things. One, I'm going to say that I'm hoping that the other people on these podcasts are going to have some very specific and concrete online and digital-oriented responses, because I'm not a great resource for that. I'm going playfully say to you, because this is actually the only thing that came to mind and it's an opportunity for me to highlight something that's important to me…  What first came to mind when I looked at that question was, "I know what I use, it's the clock timer on my iPhone to time my daily meditations." Does that count? Can I use that?

Because the truth is that as much as there are all these tools, Rackham, and they're so important and I certainly should sic my case manager on looking for more resources, digital and online resources, because it's not my ... I don't have an appetite for that so much. I have an appetite to be relieved from some burdensome stuff, or to have things go more easily, but I would have her do that. What I want to say is in terms of our tools, just a plug for a reminder to folks that really our greatest tool is ourself and we really need to remember that that's something for us to pay attention to.

Whether it is meditation or personal development, growing our capacities for all the good stuff of self that helps us to be more present and compassionate and clear and all that good stuff. Whatever it is, whether it's a creative practice in our personal life or meditation or release and relief in recreation in some way, whatever it is that works to keep yourself growing is going to serve you well and is to me, one of the best… Your self is really maybe the essential tool from my perspective at the table. Who you are and how you ... What energy and what vibration you bring to the table as well as the skills in your toolbox. Just a little plug for that.

Rackham:

I think that actually does fit well with the question because ultimately, if you're an hourly professional, you have to take care of yourself and there are technologies that help you to take care of yourself, whether it's as you said a clock timer in your phone to help you meditate or a Fitbit or a workout tracker… It doesn't have to be a tool that is client facing or that is really fancy and elevates your office to super high tech. It can just be something as simple using the digital tools that are available to us to help us take a little bit better care of ourselves.

Jeanne:

Absolutely, Rackham. So well said, so well said. Thank you.

Rackham:

Going a bit more low tech now, what's one book that you consider essential reading for any ADR professional?

Jeanne:

Do I have to say one? I would say ... Yeah no, I can't say one. I just can't do it. I'll just like rattle off… A couple of books, of course, I love David Hoffman's “Bringing Peace into The Room” and also his wonderful new resource, “Mediation: The Practice Guide.” I love Bernie Mayer's courageous, edgy work around “beyond neutrality.” Of course, “Difficult Conversations” (Stone, Patton, and Heen), of course, of course. I also just have to say so in terms of just the written work of and the work in general of Leah Wing, “whither neutrality,” I love her work and I love that. It's just a good solid article about a challenging institutional, racism and ‘isms’ in general and the challenge of neutrality serving all in the face of institutional ‘isms.’

I love Peter Adler's writing. It's not a book but “unintentional excellence.” He's got a hysterical ... He has lots of articles. Daniel Bowling, "Mindful Mediation and Meditation. I love too The Hallmarks of Artistry, Lang and Taylor. Kenneth Cloke, Mediating Dangerously. I love that one too, love that book. You can see the direction I'm ... It's not so much in terms of ... You can see the direction. I do like those books that are pushing us into courageous and whole engagement focus. That's the stuff that I love.

Rackham:

Those are great recommendations. I'm going to put the list of resources in the show notes on the website and we can consider that “Jeanne's Recommended Essential Reading List.”

Jeanne:

Good, thank you. Good.

Rackham:

What's one piece of advice you would give to someone today looking to start or grow an ADR practice?

Jeanne:

I think I would ... It sort of echoes what I had said just a few minutes ago about don't forget the importance of, or the centrality of, the path of our own personal growth. You are really the most powerful tool in the room… And capacity for, I think, as I said presence, compassion, clarity and really, courageous, authentic engagement. I think that's a lifelong path. Whether you're on... Mediation is certainly, like most things, on a continuum. It's a spectrum of how people practice and some people are very, “Cut a deal, let's knock some heads together, let's get a solution for these folks because that's what they need and that's what would be most helpful and that's what they're paying us for,” and that's mediation. That's terrific. In certain venues and certain settings, that's what's called for and all the way to the other end ... Some of Robert Bush's work with more transformative mediation, focused on the quality of the engagement, the empowerment and the recognition stuff that is the focus of that work, all the way… So the wide range of what it is that mediation is or ADR. However, at any point on that continuum, I would still say that we are really ... We, as the person of who we are, and the ability for courageous and authentic engagement, it's really, really at the center. I would just say don't forget that part, and that's not just self-care but it's self-development and to be courageous in our work of continuing to develop ourselves.

Rackham:

I love the way you put it: “You are really the most powerful tool in the room.” That goes back to what we were talking about, about self-care and using whatever is at your disposal, whether it's the people in your life or technology, whatever it is to take care of yourself, so that you can be that most powerful tool in the room.

Jeanne:

Exactly. To take care of ourselves and to do the courageous work of growing ourselves as well. Exactly, Rackham.

Rackham:

Well Jeanne, thank you so much for your time today. Before we go, what's the best way for someone interested in your services to reach you?

Jeanne:

Well, thank you. This has been a total delight. Thank you for this opportunity, Rackham. I think probably the simplest way is just the website, www.jeannecleary.com. That has my telephone number, office number, and also e-mail address on that website.

Rackham:

Great. I just want to point out for the listeners that Jeanne is spelled J-E-A-N-N-E.

Jeanne:

Thank you. Thank you so much, Rackham. This has been a pleasure.

Rackham:

Perfect. Thank you again, Jeanne.

Jeanne:

Thanks, Rackham.

Rackham:

That's today's show. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on iTunes. You can find show notes for this episode including links to any books and other resources mentioned at zephyrlaw.com/initiative. I have some more great guests lined up so be sure to join me next time for another edition of the ADR Initiative.