I want to tell you more about Sharon Ellison, one of ILI’s new “certification partners.” Certification partners are individuals or organizations offering continuing education programs that match so well with ILI’s mission and with our lawyer certification program (in terms of quality, content, and integrative significance) that their educational programs will ordinarily be accepted for purposes of ILI’s Certification in Integrative Lawyering. (For more about ILI’s certification program, click here.)
Sharon has created a remarkable communications system called “Powerful Non-Defensive Communication.” PNDC teaches how to recognize and alter the aggressive and defensive content embedded in what we say and how we say it. Sharon’s method teaches refined techniques for asking genuinely curious questions that cause listeners to think and that often make them want to answer, for themselves as well as for the questioner.
Lawyers have been flocking to Sharon’s training programs and workshops like bees to flowers, because her work provides essential core skills that we lawyers need if we are to facilitate constructive, client-centered, interest-based, out-of-court dispute and conflict resolution. Whether we are lawyer-mediators or collaborative lawyers, we are grounded in professional legal training that treats questions as just another weapon we use in service of winning.
When we shift to out-of-court modes of dispute resolution, we lawyers bring that adversarial toolbox along with us. Cognitive biases being what they are, it can be challenging even to see just how much we use questions to persuade rather than to inquire. As psychologist Abe Maslow said long ago, “if the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems tend to resemble nails.”
Sharon’s trainings open lawyers’ eyes, helping us see the extent to which we –often unintentionally–ramp up conflict by the way that we speak. She teaches concrete methods for peeling away the aggressive and defensive content of our questions so that they become tools for discovery of new information. I can’t recommend her courses and workshops highly enough for lawyers who are serious about making the shift away from adversarial methods and toward constructive facilitation of deep resolution.
You can view Sharon’s calendar here. Two programs coming up soon are worth considering:
1. The Disarming Power of Questions
Webinar Description: Learn and practice more than a dozen formats for asking questions that can enhance our power to disarm defensiveness and get to the heart of an issue quickly, opening up the kind of genuine conversation that can lead to deeper resolution and connection. More Complete Information . . .
Dates: Tuesdays: Jan 29, Feb 5, Feb 19, Feb 26, March 5, & March 12, 2013
Times: ~ 4-6 pm Pacific ~ 5-7 pm Mountain ~ 6-8 pm Central ~ 7-9 pm Eastern
Length: Each of the Six Sessions ~ 2 hours
CEUs: Available for MFTs and LCSWs (12 hours) / Credits also available toward certification in Integrative Law
2. National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations: The Leadership Workshop for Professional Women~ An innovative women’s leadership training for women attorneys as well as for women in other professions
Date: Friday, February 8 & Saturday, February 9, 2013
City: Dallas, TX
Place: Embassy Suites Hotel, Dallas Market CenterConference Overview: The focus is to build leadership skills that increase economic strength and collaboration among women across professional boundaries. Unlike most other conferences, this one is structured so that each speaker will present to and/or work with the whole audience. The cost is also very reasonable. Sharon Strand Ellison will be one of the five speakers and and she says, “I’m extremely impressed with the kind of power, creativity, and integrity the other four speakers possess ~ and excited to learn from them. I hope you’ll consider attending this exceptional conference on women’s leadership and share the information in your own community of colleagues and friends.” For a More Complete description of the conference and speaker bios, click here ..
To register: click here.