As a prelude to its twelfth annual conference, the International Ombudsman Association will offer several training programs in Minneapolis, April 21-23. The training sessions are open to anyone and are not limited to Ombuds or conference attendees.
The programs include:
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 three-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 ombuds will share best practices around setting up an office and evaluating and communicating the effectiveness of the office.
Full-Day Specialty Workshops
We invite you to a rejuvenating full-day retreat to enrich and inspire your ombuds work. Experience how mindfulness teachings and practices can bring your work to new heights of insight and effectiveness, and new depths of understanding. This engaging and thought-provoking workshop offers fresh perspectives, skills and techniques based on age-old wisdom to assist you in developing and refining your ombuds practice.
Morning Half-Day Courses
Beyond Brainstorming: Developing Creativity Through Improvisation, Instructor: Adam Barak Kleinberger, CO-OP, Associate Ombuds, Boston University
Creativity can be essential to the success of the work we do as practitioners. Whether helping a visitor get unstuck during brainstorming or when partnering with others toward a solution to a common problem, creativity can help us break out of conventional or rigid thinking. All are welcome to attend this non-traditional, participatory training session that uses improvisation to develop creativity in our work crafting better options and outcomes.
A Research Primer for Ombuds, Instructor: Shannon Lynn Burton, Associate University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University
Many ombuds have “big questions” about their practice, but have not had the opportunity to explore them in a meaningful space. In this session, practicing ombuds will have a chance to explore an initial research question and consider methods for answering that question. Through utilizing the critical friends process, ombuds will work together to create a community of scholars to begin expanding their research knowledge base and design a strategy for answering their question.
Meaningful Connections: Nonviolent Communication (NVC) for the Ombuds Practitioner, Instructor: Donna Douglass-Williams, CO-OP, Director, Ombuds Program, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a model rooted in compassion and empathy, was developed to deescalate difficult conversations and provide opportunities for more meaningful human connections, and constructive resolution of conflict. The focus of this interactive workshop will be an overview of the model, interactive exercises on how to frame conversations using NVC, and how to listen empathetically to others. All organizational ombuds practitioners are invited to learn how NVC can enhance and enrich an ombuds practice.
Afternoon Half-Day Courses
Communicating Through Conflict, Instructor: Bonnie Wichtner-Zoia, Educator/Ombudsman, Michigan State University Extension
It is especially important in today’s polarized society and stressful workplaces to develop skills that approach conflict in a way that builds and maintains positive relationships. The “Communicating Through Conflict” workshop includes relevant framework and interactive discussions, based on real-life situations, that offer participants tools and techniques to manage conflict situations more effectively.
Compliance or Engagement? Reconciling Competing Organizational Approaches, Instructors: David Michael, Deputy Ombudsman, National Institutes of Health; Karen Dean, Senior Ombudsman, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
When someone “colors outside the lines,” HR, EEO, or the ombudsman are often involved, and the organization may intensify the conflict by pursuing discipline without first considering informal engagement. Using dramatization, discussion and humor, we will identify characteristics and consequences of an organization’s competing compliance and engagement approaches, and propose a framework and strategies to reconcile them while strengthening organizational capacity. Participants will create action plans to reconcile these often-conflicting approaches within their own organizations.
One-sided Conflict Resolution, Instructor: Nicole Gravagna, Author, Self-Employed
Uncover the scientific basis of one-sided conflict resolution. This presentation will focus on two main areas: 1) Neuroscience of Empathy: Mirror neurons are partly responsible for our ability to transmit emotion without words. With brain scan technology we can see that when you focus on another person, your brain activity synchronizes with theirs. 2) Neuroscience of Conflict: Conflict is a biological phenomenon. Although we are capable of feeling multiple emotions at the same time, humans can only think one thing at a time. When our expected version of the world doesn ‘t match with the version we experience, we feel a conflict. This shows up in the brain as activity in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC); the same part of the brain that addresses physical pain.
With awareness that the unsettled feeling of conflict comes from two conflicting perspectives, it becomes easier to see how a shift in one’s perspective will provide measurable relief. A person who is interested in feeling better can be coached through the steps of one-sided conflict resolution without the involvement of the other party. Through interactive, small-group sessions, learn how emotion and conflict affect the human brain. Learn new ways to resolve conflict and achieve peaceful outcomes.