Building Positive Working Relationships - JMB Seminars 2023


Thursday 5 January 2023

Building Positive Working Relationships - JMB Seminars 2023

Event date: 26/01/2023 - 22/03/2023 Export event

Dates and times

Each seminar will take place online via Zoom and will be two and a half hours in duration inclusive of two breaks. 

Seminar 1 - Thursday, 26th January 
From ‘Difficult’ Conversations to Learning Conversations 
9.30am - 12pm This event has passed
Seminar 2 - Tuesday, 21st February
Mediation Skills for School Leaders
9.30am - 12pm This event has passed
Seminar 3 - Wednesday, 22nd March
Collaborative Conversations in Your Team and School
9.30am - 12pm This event has passed


The need to effectively deal with conflict as an individual and within a team is a critical skill for every principal.  To support principals, the JMB is pleased to present a series of three online seminars that are focussed on building confidence by improving personal skills needed for difficult conversations and when addressing difficulties in working relationships among colleagues. Participants will be provided with strategies and tips that will enhance the skills of fostering positive and collaborative working relationships in leadership teams and the whole school community. 

These seminars will be presented by Mary Rafferty, B.Ed., M.Sc., M.I.I. Advanced Member, ICF ACC, a very experienced and highly regarded professional, who specialises in coaching for leaders and managers around building positive and resilient working relationships which create high quality robust relationships in their teams and a culture of open and transparent communication.

Mary is an accredited Advanced Mediator, CINERGY® Certified Conflict Coach and Erickson Solution Focused Qualified Coach. She has worked in private practice as a coach, mediator, and trainer since 2006 in a wide range of organisations in both the private and the public sector including the education sector.

Mary specialises in coaching for leaders and managers around building positive and resilient working relationships

Mary is a former Director of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and former Director of the MII Accreditation Policy Committee, of which she is still an active member. 

Mary holds an Honours Degree in Education, a Master’s Degree with Distinction in Social Science and has attended a wide variety of specialised trainings in the field of team coaching and conflict resolution.

Who can attend

This event is open to principals, deputy principals and chairpersons.


€50 per seminar


Seminar 1: From ‘Difficult’ Conversations to Learning Conversations 

Thursday, 26th January 

All of us have certain conversations we dislike and prefer to avoid. Perhaps you have to give someone a negative message, raise a sensitive issue, discuss a project that has gone wrong. You see only two options - either go in heavy and push your agenda or water down your message and try and keep things smoothed over. 

This seminar will introduce participants to a third way: how to transform a difficult conversation into a learning conversation which ultimately benefits both parties.

Session Outline:

  • ‘Difficult Conversations’ – exploring contexts, challenges and impact 
  • The Not So Merry Go Round of Conflict – unpicking dynamics and building self-awareness 
  • POISE NOW 8 Step Model for planning and navigating a ‘difficult conversation’ and application of this to case study in a school context 
  • Demonstration of a learning conversation in action 


Seminar 2: Mediation Skills for School Leaders

Tuesday, 21st February

This seminar will provide participants with an introduction to the skills of mediation and how to apply these in informal resolution of differences and conflicts in a school setting. In particular, participants will learn the importance of remaining impartial and staying in facilitator mode rather than problem-solver mode throughout the process.

Session Outline:

  • Overview of mediation as a facilitative and collaborative problem-solving tool 
  • Overview of the role of the mediator and ground rules for the mediation process 
  • Key mediation skills: 

- Empathic and Reflective Listening 
- Powerful Questions 
- Impartiality 

  • Mediation process – key stages and tasks at each stage 
  • Demonstration of mediation applied to a two-party conflict in a school context


Seminar 3: Collaborative Conversations in Your Team and School

Wednesday, 22nd March

You have been having conversations and communicating all your life but how much focused skill or attention do you bring to ensure that the conversations you have with your team and staff are productive, effective, emotionally intelligent and empower the other person to take responsibility and be accountable? This workshop will provide participants with an introduction to skills and mindset that will enhance the quality and effectiveness of conversations with their leadership team and all staff.

Session Outline:

  • Collaborative conversations: definition and contexts in school environment 
  • What gets in the way of having effective conversations? 
  • Coaching skills for better conversations e.g.: 

- Listening to understand rather than respond, listening for potential rather than problems 
- Asking powerful questions vs over-talking and filling silences 
- Challenging and reframing 
- Action planning and accountability 


All attendees must register on-line prior to attending training/events.
Payment for JMB events/training will only be accepted by credit/debit card, as with all other on-line bookings/purchases.

Cancellation Policy: Please note that refunds will only be given if cancellation is made three days before event by email to

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