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Legally Yours Interview with Venita Dimos from The Mediation Company

Legally Yours intern, Monique Walker, had the pleasure of interviewing Venita Dimos to discuss Venita’s journey from being a  lawyer to becoming a mediator and corporate trainer specialising in conflict management skills. She has an evident enthusiasm for making a meaningful impact on the lives of her clients. After becoming an experienced mediator, Venita saw an opportunity to proactively address conflict management, which led her to the exciting projects she mentions in this interview. In this interview, Venita shares her insights into conflict in the current environment and the benefit of developing our ‘conflict intelligence’.  

Article Summary Points:

Tell us a bit about your background.

I worked as a lawyer for about 20 years – both in private practice and as a senior corporate lawyer for global organisations. I specialised across various fields including corporate law, banking and finance, competition and consumer law. I absolutely loved being a lawyer, but it was time to stretch myself.  I decided to take myself out of my comfort zone and do something new.  ^

When and where did your journey to becoming a mediator and corporate trainer begin?

After working with so many clients in conflict as a lawyer, I realised that most of us have never had any formal skills training or education in how to manage conflict in our lives.  Whether it is conflict at work with a colleague, or conflict at home, we learn how to deal with conflict ‘on the job’, through trial and error. This results in stress and dysfunctional relationships.

I became a mediator to help people deal with conflict. But the more mediations I did, the more it reinforced that people just did not have effective tools to deal with conflict. Particularly in workplaces, I noticed that people fell into two categories. Firstly, those who feared, hated, and avoided conflict.  Secondly, those who dealt with conflict in an aggressive or intimidating manner. This was affecting people’s motivation, productivity, and stress at work.  Often the conflict had been brewing for many months, or even years. A one-off mediation was not going to fix that! 

I decided to immerse myself into further study, research and training in conflict and communication. I became accredited in Conflict Dynamics Profiling, Brain-Based Conversation Skills, Brain-Based Coaching, CINERGY Conflict Management Coaching and various other conflict modalities. This enabled me to develop training which integrates neuroscience with conflict dynamics, giving people effective techniques to manage conflict – big and small.  

I now facilitate corporate training focusing on conflict management skills, and also individual Brain Success coaching. The training and coaching focus on helping people build their conflict intelligence, master habit formation, increase work productivity and improve focus in their lives.  ^ 

What are some common themes you are noticing in the current environment?

One of the most common themes I see across the board is that most people are not operating at their normal, full brain capacity.  Regardless of whether I am coaching individuals or presenting workshops to groups, many people are feeling quite emotionally depleted. 

This is not surprising given the global pandemic and uncertainty of the last 12 months. But when there is increased stress and uncertainty, we feel more vulnerable and are more easily triggered.  So, we are seeing increasing conflict across workplaces and families. Just because many of us are still working from home, it doesn’t mean conflict is reduced. On the contrary, the lack of daily face-to-face connection and support means that those niggling issues fester and can escalate quickly.  ^

What do you think is the most important skill or quality for a lawyer to develop? 

To be effective lawyers, we really require so many key skills! We’re all aware of customary skills such as communication, problem-solving, drafting, analytical and negotiation skills.  But I believe there needs to be more focus on developing the skills that build our resilience, motivation and focus. 

I am deeply concerned about the reportedly high rates of mental health issues in our industry, including depression and anxiety. We work in extremely high-pressure jobs, and I strongly believe we need to start prioritising training that is targeted towards improving our emotional well-being – for example, training focusing on increasing our self-awareness and enhancing our interpersonal skills.  ^    

You’re about to go back in time to give yourself one piece of advice. What do you say to your younger self and when?

Only one piece of advice? I think I could write a long list! 

I would tell myself that true growth happens in our hardest moments of vulnerability. There have been many times in my life where things haven’t gone according to plan – at the time, it felt so hard, but looking back, those were the key pivotal moments of growth and learning for me.  ^     

What are three things you will be focusing on this year?

I am in the process of launching a new Conflict Coaching course in collaboration with the Mediation Institute. It is called the SOLVE CODE™ and teaches you everything you need to know about managing conflict in your life – from having difficult conversations, dealing with high conflict people, understanding your personal triggers, self-managing your emotions and how to coach others who are in conflict. 

The course will be launched globally in line with our commitment to transform people’s understanding of conflict. It will unlock new, effective strategies for dealing with conflict in your life – whether at work, at home or any other interpersonal relationships.

This year I will be focusing on delivering the SOLVE CODE™ course – and of course, continuing my mission of building conflict intelligence through corporate training and individual coaching.  ^

How and where can we stay up to date with what you’re doing? (e.g. LinkedIn/ social media/ website etc.)

Through my Linkedin profile and website at www.mediationcompany.com.au

This article was written by Legally Yours Intern, Monique Walker.

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This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to a practising lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Legally Yours Pty Ltd accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.