Being an Ombuds is like being a Bandaid

I was recently talking with one of the owners of a company that I have been contracted to work with, and he was asking me about the benefits of hiring an Ombuds. Besides all of the regular and most common reasons, he unexpectedly asked, “if you would have to make an analogy about being an Ombuds, what would that be?”  

My answer was quite simple; an Ombuds is like a Band-Aid.  

I imagine that many of my Ombuds’ colleagues are frowning, screaming, yelling “say what?”… and so on. I still stand on my analogy, being an Ombuds is like being a Band-Aid. If this analogy makes you think as a Band-Aid as treatment for symptoms instead of causes, take a step back and see the multiple utilities of it. I hope to show you how Band-Aid/Ombuds can be creative and unconventional. 

Everything we stand for as Ombuds is to make othersfeel safe, open, and willing to change and evolve. As Ombuds, we have a very important role, which is not used as much as it needs to be. This is either because people don’t know what an Ombuds’ role actually is, or because people maintain the ignorant, old mentality of “why fix it if it’s not broken”. For me, the most important role of an Ombuds is to prevent conflicts from happening, not to fix them when they arise. Yet, I feel as though I am getting into that “fixer” role more often than not. How about my fellow Ombudspeople?

Hence, where the “Band-Aid” analogy comes from. We are just like a Band-Aid that we put on our feet after buying new shoes. We are the Band-Aid that preventsthe blister from happening, that allows us to keep pushing forward, that brings us safety from harm. When we use a Band-Aid, we have the ability to walk around and  “show off” our shoes and to stay productive all day. Moreover, by preventing a blister we will be comfortable, not crippled, next time we wear a pair of shoes. 

How is that related to the Ombuds profession? As the Band-Aid, our profession prevents conflicts from arising or escalating, it makes people feel confident and at ease as they do their best and move forward, it helps companies and organizations “show off” their employees’ productivity, happiness, and determination to come to work. Moreover, the Ombuds role, like the Band-Aid, may make people be uncomfortable in the moment while trying to prevent conflicts, or blisters, but in the long run will make the entire system work effectively and fairly.

Finally, after I told the owner of the company my analogy he looked at me and said, “I went out without putting on Band-Aids before, and certainly I got really hurt and uncomfortable, now I am smarter and the Band-Aid will be there, as my Ombuds”. Whenever companies realize how much harm blisters can cause, they will start opening more Ombuds offices. 

**This was also posted at the Member-Only International Ombudsman Association Blog [The Independent Voice], and I thought would be important for everyone to have access to this opinion.



Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

There are many things that needs to be done to become your Best Self. I will not be able to explain them all here, yet let me give you some ideas.

What would be some examples?

1) Create Boundaries - Say “NO” to protect yourself, not to harm other people

2) Be truthful with your feelings, peers, family, and especially self. We tend to lie to ourself, stop.

3) Be transparent - Not only honest. A lot of us ask for honesty, however asking for transparency has more nuances that are direct, focused, and with no B.S nor surprises.

4) Organize yourself - By birth order, temperament, experience, and desire. People forget that organization is not done universally, it has to be cater to who you are in order to be effective

5) If you are wrong about something, admit it. Showing our vulnerability is a great strategy to fix your issues, most of us see it as it will become more complicated, yet it makes it simpler. It is about being confident.

6) Be ambitious - Be careful not to be greedy. Ready about it and see what are the differences between one and the other. You’ll be surprised.

7) If there’s something or someone that keeping coming back in your mind, it means you have not “move on”, “forgave”, “forget”, or whatever you would like to call. It means you need to RESOLVE that complicated thought. The only way you will move on from remembering that difficult memory is dealing with it constructively. AVOIDING DOES NOT RESOLVE.

8) There are many more things that will help you… Start with those and see how far will you go.

A quote I like is “90% of life is information and 10% is how to react to it”, that means that you need to see everything people are telling you ONLY as information. There is no need to feel hurt, disappointed, or anything else… because it’s only information.

A good strategy for you to build a little bit of confidence.

1) Look at yourself in the mirror, say 3 things about your body that you like for 7 days. No quality can be repeated and it has to be about your body ONLY.

2) After that, say 5 things “why would people want to date you?” for 7 days. No quality can be repeated.



What to do in High Conflict Disputes?

I was in a Mediation Conference in Los Angeles (SCMA) and in one of the sessions I enjoyed this method and research of what to do in high conflict disputes. Hence I will share my take aways from it and I will add some of my perspectives and studies on it as well. I have dealt with a lot of High Conflict People over the years, either in court mediations, private clients that are couples, or with individuals in recovery, therefore I have successfully use many of these strategies with them. 

What NOT to do?

1) Do not give advices - I completely agree that giving advices to someone that is a high conflict person would be detrimental for the potentiality of resolving the conflict, as the person would not be able to listen to what you need to say, and would see it as a personal attack

2) Forget about using the Past! It is common today that people in "hot" emotional field mode would see your illustration of the past as extremely negative and as you are trying to show that you are right and they are wrong. *In case of using a positive anecdote, then could be positive into change the conflict in a positive way, however be cautious to use it in high conflict disputes, I personally would not use it in this type of disputes.

3) Avoid emotional confrontation. It is pivotal to keep yourself "checked in" constantly, that is due to the fact that emotional contagion may happen and you cannot let the high conflict person make you angry or competitive. Keep yourself cooperative and remain neutral in those situations.

4) Do not try to diagnose their condition. Many times people try to explain a certain behavior related to the high conflict person with a diagnostic, hence it would bias your view of the case and the person itself, so avoid from trying to diagnose their condition if there is any. 

Those are important areas to focus on when in dispute with a high conflict person, in which could be in a professional setting or a personal one. In mediation I encounter a lot of high conflict people that are difficult and usually rigid in their positions, where makes the mediation more complicated to be resolved. 

What to DO in those disputes?

1) Connect! Building rapport in the initial moment of contact is pivotal for the continuous conversation with the parties. It is clear that connecting with whoever you are conversing with would help the parties to be more open and cooperative. 

2) Create and explain the structural process of the conversation. It seems to be positive to structure a conversation with high conflict disputes, in which the people involved would feel more in control and would be able to "see" the future, where would meet their expectations and potential for a resolution. 

3) Have ground rules. Explain what you expect to be the ground rules (e.g. respect, wait for another to stop speaking, etc) makes the high conflict person feel secure and also would set boundaries in order to prevent moments that they would lose control

4) Give them something to be distracted with. Yes, just like that, distracting the high conflict person with a task would make them less focus on the emotional field. 

Finally, working with high conflict people is a skill everyone needs to learn, especially if you are in a field that have a lot of them around you. Furthermore, dealing with high conflict people would require training or even better someone that works on the field of conflict resolution and mediation to assist with those conversation, to open dialogue, and avoid potential legal matters that mostly can be resolved with Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Specialist. 




You hire someone for their strengths, why focus on their weakness? Employees are doing what they have not been hired for.

When employers hire people they are usually focusing on the person's strengths and qualities, however many employees are moved away from what they were hired for to do something completely different. When does it shift away from what you are good at? When is the employee dissatisfied because s/he is not doing what they have been hired for? Or even further, the employee is not doing what s/he does like to, but needs to do it because the company asked.

Putting the employee in that position will only make the employee to lose motivation, in which may cause many more conflicts than not. The conflicts may be intrapersonal [where it is a conflicts within ourselves] or interpersonal [where it is between people] conflicts. 

It may be common that companies hire someone that have some specific qualities, and the person also have many others, hence the company may think "S/he is so smart that we need to put her/him on XX area". Then when the employee goes into whatever that XX area is, s/he flourish and shows to be incredible at it... At the same time, is that what the employee likes doing? --- Maybe not. Probably not. 

The fact that an employee can "do it all", does not mean that s/he likes to do whatever s/he is shifted towards. Someone with specific specialization/expertise usually has chosen those because they are great at it. 

Furthermore, remember that someone was hired for a reason, where probably was what the person was aiming to do, or loved doing, or just wanted to try it out. Remember to bring them back to it.

**Absolutely, there is the possibility that the employee was not sure about her/his working area, and shifting them to other areas can be positive and productive for their own self development. However, how many times that is not the case?

Finally, how many times have you asked about your job description? How many times have you wanted to go back to do what you previously applied for?

We need to be true to ourselves and keep focusing on what we love doing and who we want to be. 





How to have that difficult conversation? Which one? All of them!

There are times we have to have "THAT" conversation... One that may be because you feel hurt, or perhaps because you will be moving far away, or even to ask for that raise you think is more than fair.

On those moments there are plenty of circumstantial and environmental things happening, plus all the unknown things that one cannot explain, see, or predict. You can only know that the known exists, and rest assure that it will reveal itself soon.

In that time of uncertainty, there are a lot of disempowering emotions that come into play. When those emotions are making you question yourself in every way to move forward with that conversation, you may start creating and fantasizing histories that may or may not have any potentiality to be true. Our mind can rush away into creating and inventing histories that will become stronger and may consume your entire day, week, even month, thus if the conversation is really serious in your mind, it has to happen, otherwise those stories will consume you.

How many times have you felt this way? How many times have you caught yourself overthinking? And in my case, how many times have you asked your mind to “shut up”?

Generally overthinking makes you to feel anxiety, stress, insecurity, anger, frustration... and so many more disempowering emotions. Definitely we cannot avoid that conflict, in which is creating so many negative emotions, hence facing that conversation is crucial for your wellbeing.

Now, how to start that conversation? Build a scenario.

1)   Write down all you want to say – No matter how harsh or direct. Put all the facts and emotions necessary to build your case. Focus on your qualities and avoid mentioning others, own your part of the matter and be honest

2)   Change your point of view and read the letter – What would the other person respond to that letter? Write down a response to the letter you wrote. Imagine that you are in the other person’s shoes, and be real to what him/her would respond

3)   Read both letters and rewrite the one you first wrote. Before you start writing, think genuinely what is your desired outcome from this conversation, and then write it all with a deep sense of honesty, trust, ownership, and flexibility. It is important to know that the desired outcome may not be exactly what you thought of, however you have to aim to the best possible one while being open to another.

Difficult conversations have to be well thought, and then you will be able to deal with it in the best way possible.

Finally, in those conversations keep in mind to have an attitude towards integration, collaboration, and mutual gain. The importance of not blaming others is crucial to get through that conversation without harm and negative emotions. Therefore, when you are done talking, do the most important step of dealing with that difficult conversation; listen. Remember that the up coming response have already been played out in your head, as well as this is the moment that you will understand fully the results and possible changes that you were expecting.







When attacked with blame, what should I do?

When someone is being rigid and inflexible, they may be attacking you with blaming statement and positions that causes confrontations, in those moments remind yourself to:

  • Be confident on understanding the other's perspectives, in which is different from yours - Hence avoid attacking back
  • Listen carefully...and ACTIVELY. The other person must need to feel heard and understood (The attack may be a "cry for attention" - give it to them)
  • Shift the interaction from competitive to cooperative. Acknowledge the different perspectives and explain the parts of the truthful facts there are
  • Focus on how can you both work together - Similarities into achieving the relationship goals are important to be mentioned
  • You need to stay calm! Frustrations need to be used creatively, hence patience is a must
  • Be warm and respectful - People recognize those and may be lenient into giving you the same

Blaming must be an easy fix that many people look to when there is no one taking responsibility, or they may not to be taken accountable, or they are afraid, or they are just not aware of the mysterious things that are happening that one doesn't know... Blame could be done and said, yet it is just building a negative interaction with whomever it is, hence it will not be a relationship that one wants to cherish. 

Do an experiment... Ask the closest person you have in your daily lives and ask them to tell you when you are using blame or even complaining. How many times will you do it in a week, 3 days, or even one day? - Be aware that you have to be ready to hear the unexpected, be aware that you also asked for it, then when your loved one tell you those answers s/he has nothing to be blamed for!

I am here to help you to help yourself... Let me know how can I assist!



Have you ever got really ANGRY? - Anger and Conflicts, understand them and be better at those moments!

Anger is something that a lot of people have been dealing with and it brings so many negative consequences. Even though we understand that at times it can be consuming to the point that one "can only see red", at other times it can escalate to something that we cannot even recognize. 

- How many times have you gotten angry TODAY? - Once this answer is more than one time, it may be good for you to rethink about what anger means to you.

Think about that for a second! Stop what you're doing and think about that...

How many times have you been angry today, or even how many times have you been angry in the past week? [Perhaps is countless...]

What does anger mean to you? Is it part of your life? Is it something that you want/need to change?

Being angry is an emotion that it may be generated from fear, so what were you afraid about when you got angry in that specific moment?

For example you can be driving in traffic and get really pissed off about being there. So what would you be afraid of?

Most of times we are not aware of that being fear, but it may be. Perhaps it is fear of getting into an accident or fear of getting late somewhere. I hope this can be now clear to you, on how fear is part of anger.

There are steps one can take to prevent and understand better about your own angry moments

  • Recognizing the physical effects of emotions help you to be able to control them in moments of stress (Adler, Rosen, and Silverstein - "Emotions in Negotiation", 1998)  - It is extremely important to be mindful about the physical reaction you are having on those moments, then you would be able to "control" yourself, or even be yourself properly.

  • Being aware of "what are you afraid about" is an incredible tool to increase your own self awareness and prevent the escalation of it. In moments of anger it may escalate to rage and further to violence

  • Ignoring it does not work! You need to acknowledge the anger and fear in order to move on from it

  • Truly looking and respecting who you are must be standing strong to demonstrate love, care, and respect towards yourself and your actions

  • Focusing on the disempowering emotions that are dragging you into that spiral of regrets have to be understood in order to change into positive constructive emotions

For the future prevention of being angry:

  • Determine what are the situations that trigger your anger; and your fear on those moments. Finding out the patterns of anger triggers is key for helping yourself to prevent outburst 

  • Find out "who" or "what" makes you feel that way

  • Show confidence... even if you are not at all. It makes you be more capable to move away from the "bad side" of it

  • Reduce your stress level. Maybe mediation, mindfulness, therapy, coaching, talking with friends about your real feeling and concerns, exercise in a regular basis...

  • Make a list of things that pisses you off! - When bringing those to awareness you will be more prepared for those times

Anger being a challenging emotion is one that can be tamed as long as you can be yourself, confident, and aware. Self awareness play a huge role in those angry moments, in which you self regulation needs to be in tune with your "self". 

Unfortunately, many times when we are angry, we are with our loved ones... Why is that? Do they deserve all of those things we say and do at angry moments? Are they comfortable in having you as the worst version of yourself?

Are you happy with not being the best version of yourself?

I don't think so... And I think you agree. 

Therefore, being the best version of yourself is a competence that can be achieved with practice, determination, love, and practice. I am saying practice twice because we have been doing the same thing the same way for many and many years, thus changing those habits takes a while.

Remember that you will not change one day to another, its a process of increasing your self awareness and the culture you are practicing for a while. Those challenging habits can be changed with perseverance and guidance. 

I am here to help you to help yourselves... Let me know how. 





Irresistible Communication and Perception

          How to communicate is something very interesting for me. So, how one can use Irresistible Communication strategies and what is the play of perception in it?

          The first thing I have to say is that communication is a lot based on the communicator's reality. When one person is trying to communicate to another, what one is saying is based on their own reality. Their made-by-experience script.

          Effective communication is when one is able to change the other's way of viewing their own world, for example usually clients are stuck in a particular moment or situation, however as an Ombudsman I see a multitude of options that would be able to make the client empowered and free, yet s/he is not seeing any options. The client is usually completely focused on the negative feeling hence being stuck – immovable. Therefore, changing one’s perspective generates options and flexibility. Further, it is pivotal to show the client that the Facilitator is present to help them to help themselves.

          Continually I believe that the particular experience of moments one may see as “setback" could be moments of learning and unprecedented opportunities to know something new about the world and oneself. Even learning something negative about oneself is an incredible chance of self discovery. For example I was in a situation where I was very uncomfortable because I thought I was regressing in work life, and what I realized was that when I am feeling that way I tend to close myself off, over and over again. Not anymore… I have learned to use those opportunities to know how to talk more effectively with people that are on those situations, and ask myself what am I learning on those moments that I could use in the future.

          Therefore, there is constantly in most moments in life a positive side that one can find… Let’s look for those and make them apparent to us.

           How about to be more effective in communicating with others? Here are some ways to be irresistible:

Avoid making quick assumptions

In any given situation our ability to make assumptions, whether they are extremely easy to read or not, is pretentiously quick. I think is better to refrain yourself to make an assumption, and ask questions to understand the situation better and then able to make a correct assessment.

Be Flexible

When you are communicating with another person, try out ways of using different language patterns, body language, and tone until you find the one that the receptor is demonstrating to be more comfortable with you. Ergo, see what works and what doesn’t.

Be Concise

Many times we try to explain something in a long and detail message, however I have noticed that many times a quick, five-word phrase would do the job - There are times that well explained messages are necessary for accuracy, yet for a quick directive order being concise would be best

            Finally, effective communication is about the connection you have with the other. Hence, I believe is the moment that you express yourself effectively is where one is transform from talking to being fully understood.



Planning Platform for Conflict Analysis

Here are a structured table for you to analyze your own conflict! This form will assist you to be able to find out better ways to constructively resolve your conflict...

Contact me with any questions.

Have Fun!!



Escalation of Conflicts

    There are so many moments in life that we get heated and conflicts may get out of hand! How many times have ever gotten to a moment that you have "lost it" and went all the way from anger to violence?

    - Those moments are possible to be avoided. 

    The first step is to understand and be aware of the potential reasons for those "outbursts", in which could come from a psychological or a situational side for example. (Keep in mind which ones relate to you)

Psychological (Think of your own)

  1. The need for power, achievement, and/or affiliation

  2. A competitive orientation - Win/Lose positioning

  3. Intrapersonal conflicts - The "stuff" within we tell ourselves "it has nothing to do with that"

  4. Biased information 

  5. Overthinking or even "thoughts rumination" 

  6. Scripts (The ideas, concerns, and histories that one have already created or have lived with the other, in which every interaction will be relived or pre-constructed in advance)


  1. Ambiguity about power

  2. Time Pressure

  3. Lack of information 

  4. Unstable social situations

  5. Changes (Even slight changes on communications, perceptions, issues, and expectations)

"When these areas play a role in the conflict, we may 'lose it' and make it escalate rapidly, being aware of which one is yours might help out"

    It is clear that the situational ones are very difficult to predict since it is basically out of your control, in the other hand the psychological ones could be the ones we can mostly control, or I mean do out best to control it.

    Even though for me it was challenging to control my psychological attributes during conflicts, it is not only achievable it gets better with practice. 

    Getting "really good" at dealing with conflicts have to come from educating yourself about it and practicing it daily. 

Practice! - That is key!

"Dealing with conflicts constructively is challenging, yet when you become your true self, the 'whom' you want to portray to others, the best version of yourself... You will not be dealing with conflicts, you'll be transforming them" - Hans Kohler




Core Values of an Ombudsman

I am describing about the four core values of the Ombuds Practice, which is a very important role that is vastly unknown and misunderstood. As the map below demonstrated, the Ombudsman have as core values Independent, Neutral, Informal, and Confidential, and the Ombuds is part of an organization, or government, and it is advocating for the health of the whole system. 

In the exercise of her/his duties, an ombudsman is independent in structure and function of all the organization/company’s organs or officials. She/he has direct access to the Top Officials, or at least they should have access in order to make significant improvements.  

Neutrality and Impartiality:
An ombudsman is a designated neutral person, and does not take sides of any party in a conflict. An ombudsman does not make decisions, create or change policies or mandate actions. An ombudsman reviews each situation objectively and treats all parties equally.

An ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure relating to concerns brought to his/her attention.

Confidentiality: (I think is the most important value)
An ombudsman does not keep records for the organization/company or any other party. S/he does not disclose information about individual cases or visits from employees without permission from the employee, and cannot be compelled to testify about concerns brought to her/his attention. (The only exceptions, at the sole discretion of an ombudsman, are when there is imminent threat of serious harm to someone or oneself.)

These principles are based on the Code of Ethics developed by the International Ombudsman Association