January 23, 2014

Ombuds Training to be Offered in Denver

The International Ombudsman Association will offer several training programs before its annual conference in Denver, April 4-6, 2014.  The courses include fundamental training for new Ombuds to shorter, specialized courses for experienced practitioners.

Three-Day Courses
April 4-6

Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice
This course covers the fundamentals of the organizational Ombudsman role. It provides basic information and training for the organizational Ombudsman by emphasizing the principles of confidentiality, neutrality, independence, and informality.

The 3 day course focuses on how the Ombudsman works with the visitor to the office as well as how they act as a change agent within their organization. The course will allow you to practice key Ombudsman skills of listening, asking questions, clarifying, generating options, and moving to actions throughout the Ombudsman Process. In addition, an experienced and highly committed faculty of Ombudsmen will share best practices around setting up an office and evaluating and communicating the effectiveness of the office.

Instructors TBA
Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners Series: Working With Visitors and Respondents
In the absence of formal Organizational Ombudsman (OO) education and  training, practitioners commonly draw from their own educational and professional backgrounds for applicable approaches and knowledge.  This three day course explores proven academic theories and professional techniques that help OO practitioners work effectively with visitors and respondents.

Instructors TBA

Pre-Conference Courses
April 6

Full Day Course

The Fine Art of Fairness: A Model for Decision Makers (FD1)
Level: Fundamental

As ombudsman, investigators and complaint handlers, people contact us every day saying a decision is unfair. By the time they reach us, they are often frustrated and angry. No doubt you have often heard, “Finally someone is listening to me”, or “They were so rude!” Do you ever wish you could go back in time and coach the decision maker to do it right the first time? If you could, what would you teach them? Ombudsman Saskatchewan Jeff Cain offers decision makers, complaint handlers and service providers a popular workshop called “The Fine Art of Fairness”. This is an innovative, interactive workshop which highlights the ability of ombudsman office to be proactive and provide fairness education to executive government. Topics include: Fairness: What is it? What do you need to know to be fair? Why is it important to look at what was decided, how it was decided and how the person was treated? Communication: Decision-makers usually want to do the right thing, but what if they don’t know how or they get caught up in the emotion of the situation and find themselves acting differently than they would like? How can listening, questioning and reframing get them back on track? Interests: What do clients really want? How can decision makers draw out clients’ underlying needs to gain a more complete understanding of the issues and make better decisions?

Faculty: Jeff Cain, Assistant Ombudsman, Ombudsman Saskatchewan

Morning Half Day Courses

Improvisation, Intuition and Spontaneity: A New Approach for the Ombuds Trainer (AM1)
Level: Fundamental 

This “train-the-trainer” session is geared toward Ombuds who would like to weave improv into their own training sessions. Improv involves using impulses in a natural and spontaneous way to provide satisfying and often unexpected outcomes. Attendees will be actively participating in improv warm-ups, exercises and games or structures. No prior experience is needed. Participants will learn how to build trust and collaboration with their own attendees and will leave with new approaches for conducting training.

Faculty: Adam Barak Kleinberger, Assistant Ombudsman, Cornell University  
Systems Basics for Ombuds (AM2)
Level: Fundamental 

What does systems theory have to do with your work as an ombuds? Learn how a basic understanding of systems can help you as a practitioner recognize patterns of conflict. In this introductory session you will learn how systems can complement and enhance the work you are already doing with visitors. Using, case studies, small group discussion, and demonstrations, you will add some new tools to your toolkit for dealing with particularly difficult and intractable situations.

Faculty: Glenda Eoyang, Executive Director, Human Systems Dynamics Institute, Howard Gadlin, Ombudsperson, National Institutes of Health, Wendell Jones, Ombudsman Emeritus, & Jan Morse, Ombuds, University of Minnesota  
Preventing, Detecting, and Disrupting Insider and Outsider Perpetrated Violence (AM3)
Level: Intermediate 

This training is designed to provide individuals in the role of Ombudsman specific information and skill sets in the areas of detection and disruption of potentially violent workplace situations. The categories of Risk to be focused on consist of: a Risk for Proactive Attack Behaviors, a Risk for Reactive Attack Behaviors and a Risk for Behaviors that create Social and Psychological Disruption.

Faculty: John Nicoletti, Ph.D., ABPP, Police Psychologist specializing in the areas of violence risk assessment, prevention of workplace and school shooting and trauma recovery  
Practical Negotiation Principles for Ombuds Professionals (AM4)
Level: Intermediate 

Learn why opportunities to negotiate are often received with panic (hint: fight-or-flight response), and ways to mitigate that response. Focus on the good communication skills that underlie skillful negotiation. Apply Fisher & Ury’s principled negotiation fundamentals to negotiation scenarios common to all Ombuds programs, and understand the elements of a satisfactory negotiated agreement. Leave with a set of practical, immediately useful approaches to life’s negotiation challenges – both those we help our visitors respond to and those we encounter ourselves. 

Faculty: Mary Beth Stevens, Ombudsman, Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Afternoon Half Day Courses

Developing and Enhancing Facilitative Communication Skills for the Practicing Ombudsperson (PM1)
Level: Fundamental 

This is an interactive workshop that focuses on the development and enhancement of the use of interpersonal skills in the Ombuds helping process. Special attention will be placed on identifying the typical roadblocks to communication, the development of listening and interviewing skills, and the use of the Ombuds Code of Ethics as the guiding context for practice. The workshop will use a blend of instructional methods to include demonstrations of skills, small group exercises and reflective discussions to build awareness of self, and video clips that highlight roadblocks and the facilitative skills that are presented. This workshop is intended for new ombudspersons and those who want to enrich their use of self in the helping process. 

Faculty: Frank R. Baskind, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University  
Identifying Underlying Interests: Tips from Nature, History and the Cinema (PM2)
Level: Fundamental 

The issue a visitor brings to the ombudsman office is usually rooted in one or more of that person’s underlying interests -- dignity, integrity, boundaries or safety, for example. The ability to recognize and acknowledge those underlying interests, and then validate the importance the visitor places on them can be key in letting that person know she or he is being heard. Through the use of film clips, historical anecdotes, lessons from nature and small group discussion, this interactive and fun workshop will help the organizational ombuds develop foundational skills in the art of active listening.

Faculty: Kevin Coonrod, Ombudsperson, Auburn University
The Fallible Ombuds: Learning from Errors Through a Reflective Practice (PM3)
Level: Intermediate 

We are all imperfect; we all make mistakes. If we can accept and learn from the errors of our ombuds practice, they can teach us important lessons. We will explore the assumptions that cause us to resist the acceptance of error and discuss how we can reorganize our thinking to embrace our vulnerability and open us to a reflective practice. We will then outline and demonstrate a specific and manageable framework that can guide reflective practice conversations between an ombuds and colleague. Participants will practice using this framework in one-on-one conversations about challenging or confusing cases, and we will examine how to better integrate reflective practice into our own organizations.

Faculty: David E. Michael, Deputy Ombudsman, National Institutes of Health & Francine Montemuro, Ombuds, Boston University  
Systems Applications for Ombuds (PM4)
Level: Intermediate 

The session focuses on how complex systems can inform decision making and action taking for ombuds. Participants engage with each other and with expert practitioner to learn about and practice using simple, powerful complexity-informed models and methods. The session will use principles from complexity and sytems sciences to address common challenges faced by ombuds, including recurring patterns of conflict, compassion fatigue, institutionalized power, and change management.

Faculty: Glenda Eoyang, Executive Director, Human Systems Dynamics Institute, Howard Gadlin, Ombudsperson, National Institutes of Health, Wendell Jones, Ombudsman Emeritus, & Jan Morse, Ombuds, University of Minnesota  
(IOA Pre-Conf Training Info.)

Related post: IOA Posts Agenda for 2014 Conference in Denver.

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