Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

I had three mediation sessions with Elly, and through her mediation was able to understand and communicate with my sister in a way we had not been able to in several years. Elly skillfully navigated us through tough emotions and ensured that all parties felt heard. Once we felt heard, it was a lot easier to think about solutions. Thanks to Elly, my sister and I are talking again.

Radha N.


Communication, co-parenting, trauma ~  Facilitated dialogue/mediation

Christine had a daughter who struggled with depression and suicide attempts. They admitted her to a residential treatment center. The therapist told her that she and her ex-husband were part of the problem and needed to work on their communication.

She felt scared to work with her ex-husband because he had attacked her seven years ago when she had told him she had filed for sole custody.

In our sessions, they learned to listen to each other and focus on what they had in common: love for their daughter. They resolved issues ranging from removing razor blades from the home, limiting screen time, to where she could meet her friends.

As a result, Christine feels more relaxed when their daughter is at his house and she doesn’t check in on her every two hours. She and her ex-husband even enjoyed the friendly connection, when they flew out to bring their daughter back home.

The last thing I’ve heard of her is that their daughter is doing well. The increased trust in her ex-husband sure helped with that.

Working with you has been pivotal for me. It helped me get over the enormous hurdle of feeling heard and seen by my ex-husband and finally feel forgiveness in my heart. My relationship with him is in a really good space, and our son is doing very well.

I will forever treasure you and the gift you gave me: a framework for knowing and naming needs and feelings. It made all the difference in what many people thought was an impossible situation for me. For that, I am profoundly grateful.


What is mediation?

Thank you so much for your willingness to engage in a dialogue together. I am looking forward to supporting you to better understand each other and find solutions that work for both of you, your teams, and your residents.
The dialogue might not be easy. Sometimes I compare it with going to the dentist and having your mercury filling removed. You know it’s for the better, the process is just long, uncomfortable, and sometimes scary and painful.
Trust me, I had that procedure done 3 weeks ago. But you also know that it is necessary for the health and well-being of your whole body. And once it’s done, you feel relieved. (Well, I have a very capable and kind dentist, that helps).
So no worries if the dialogue is stressful, I am here to guide both of you through it with compassion and empathy.
Please, find attached:
  • the ground rules
  • a brief introduction of Nonviolent Communication, the framework I use for these sessions
  • sheet with feelings and needs, pay special attention to the needs
I request that both of you have your camera and audio on, are in a quiet space with no interruptions or distractions, and that you are by yourself. You’ll find Zoom log in info at the bottom of this email.

As a mediator I help two (or more) parties to share their feelings and needs and be heard. As a result you deepen a shared understanding of of each party’s’ concerns while empowering every participant to formulate solutions that work well, without the need to compromise values.  The mediator fosters a climate of unconditional acceptance, understanding, and compassion for each parties’ position. She helps parties gain trust and develop greater transparency.  When parties are able to openly share their feelings and underlying needs, they create solutions that fully and compassionately support the experience of the other party. Mediation has the power to transform enemy images into deeper connection and a greater willingness to fulfill requests. Participation in the process also empowers the understanding and skills needed to continue the dialog beyond the mediation session, building trust between parties, and self-trust within parties of their own conflict transformation skills.

What are the benefits of mediation?

  1. Understanding of key concerns of all parties
  2. Acceptance of each other’s experience
  3. Ability to connect to the feelings and needs in each other’s experience
  4. Finding mutually supportive strategies
  5. Empowerment to continue the dialog beyond the mediation session

Principles of Elly van Laar Coaching

  • Conflict is an opportunity to connect and understand
  • Empathy and compassion always work
  • We focus on creating a safe container for honest expression and open listening
  • We support self-determination
  • You are the master of this process, Elly helps you grow your conflict resolution skills

Contact Elly

You can contact Elly van Laar Coaching Monday-Friday 10:00-6:00 pm

“I loved your room, and your calm voice and demeanor were a huge help at keeping things settled down.” Aimee Hayes, Plymouth, July 2016

  • Why Ginger and Marcella felt safe enough to address their issues and found a new way to collaborate

  • How Nick, Andrea, and Michael figured out how to collaborate, found solutions that work for everyone, and increased their trust
  • Why a mom and her daughter finally understood each other so they had more harmony together

  • How Peter and Lily prevented a divorce and figured out to live with their differences so they were happier together