Every Conflict is an Opportunity 🌞
Idris Merchant is a mediator, life coach, and authentic connection trainer.
He has over a decade of experience and is based on the West Coast of Turtle Island (aka North America).
Who am I?
Hello, my friend!
I'm an imperfect Muslim Indian American, practicing Plum Village Buddhism, born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago with ever-strengthening roots in my Indian and Muslim heritages.
I am most energized when I support the use of empathic communication and data science for global liberation and collective happiness. As part of that, I am currently teaching equitable Nonviolent Communication (eNVC), providing 1:1 coaching, offering mediation services for couples & workplaces, and deepening my practice of Plum Village Buddhism.
My journey includes a wide variety of efforts in different contexts focused on a single question: "how do we build environments and relationships where we all connect and thrive for the long term?" Like my father, I started my quest in start-ups. I realized how uninformed and luck-driven start-ups can be. So, I went into management consulting to see how the world's biggest companies transform different parts of their business to be "the best". After seeing many businesses and their different parts (marketing, finance, IT, operations, research, supply chain, and human resources), I gained an embodied awareness of how most companies take care of profits, but not their people. By that time, I had become an expert at group facilitation, strategy, and analytics. So, I dove into "people analytics" - using data science to guide decision-makers in making workers' lives more wonderful. I learned the difficulty of supporting business leaders to address long-term concerns when they are often focused on short-term profits. So, over the last 3-4 years, I have shifted my focus to directly sharing emotional/communication skills, spiritual practices, and critical social analyses to help us all get along better.
I now have a large variety of skills that I actively integrate into my work and an intense drive to use them with integrity. I support individuals, pairs, and groups in practicing these skills to have better lives and environments and constantly learn from them as I go. If you'd like to learn with me, please book a time to talk with me!
Are you involved in a conflict, or a hard-to-resolve difference of opinion? Do you have friends or colleagues in this situation?
My approach is to facilitate a conversation that allows those in conflict to reach a greater understanding of each others' experiences and perspectives. Once a renewed connection and desire to reach a mutually satisfying outcome is established, the participants use their expertise to find their own solutions. They will then be able to lean on my experience to help craft agreements that are likely to last.
Authentic Connection Training
Do you have a team, community, or group of friends who struggle to have difficult conversations?
I work with you and the group to identify the needs of the group. We'll create targeted training that addresses the challenges you're facing, right now. The group will enjoy an energizing mix of Improvisational Theater, Nonviolent Communication, and Mindfulness practices as you make progress to address some of the trickiest topics. I have worked with clients addressing racism, classicism, misogyny, and capitalism's effects on their groups. The work of addressing these systems is unlikely to be done in our lifetimes; however, we can help you unite around your group's shared values while cultivating compassion for differences in the group.
Not sure what comes next for your life? Need a helping heart to listen?
I've worked with over 100 clients over the years, centering fellow black and brown people in various countries, diaspora, and indigenous. My work has been with people from 8 years old to 50+. All of them get one thing in common, I meet them where they are. Together we look into the practices that you have been working on, where they stopped working, and a large toolset I have to help you move forward.
My toolkit includes communication skills, mindfulness/meditation practices, strategic thinking, systems design, critical theory, and much more for you to pull from.
(More coming soon!)