Mediation is yet another of these things that we just don’t know much about. We can get quite worried because it’s an unknown experience or process, and this can unnecessarily create more fear – because we don’t know what to expect. So what is the role of a mediator?
So I want to give you a little bit more information and advice about mediations, to take that uncertainty away.
Mediation is probably one of the most valuable tools that we have to use as dispute resolution. It’s up between 80 and 90% in terms of effectiveness at resolving conflicts.
It would be even more effective, if it was done earlier rather than later.
A lot of mediations tend to be Court ordered, and by that point lawyers have often done a lot of damage.
So I do encourage people to try and access a mediator earlier rather than later.
If you do need help accessing a mediator, just reply to this email and let me know.
So what does a mediator actually do?
They’ve got four main roles in doing the mediation.
The primary role of a mediator is to facilitate the conversation.
Mediation is actually a formulated process, and the mediator has to keep you in that structure. They have to keep the conversation moving.
They have to move you through certain stages of the mediation.
So they’re asking questions, they’re going backwards and the forwards between you, trying to keep you on track. They’re making sure that you’re both safe, they’re making sure that emotions are expressed without any aggression.
They will take you aside and have an individual session with you in case you’re feeling like you can’t raise something, or that you want to ask them something directly.
They’re not there to judge anyone or to make the decision for you.
Secondly, they help you work out what the issues are.
You may feel like you know the issues, but the mediator will hep to narrow the issues down. They want to identify 3 to 5 issues that are part of the bigger dispute to be resolved.
It’s almost the opposite to what lawyers do – which is to bring in a whole lot of extra, and sometimes irrelevant, information to build a case.
A mediator will just go straight to the issues and set an agenda for the rest of the conversation. Those 3 to 5 issues are what guides the whole process, and the mediator will keep you on track to deal with those issues.
A role of a mediator is to help promote understanding between you.
Often a reason why a dispute has arisen is because someone feels unheard.
The mediator, through asking questions and getting you to explain some of that, can really help open up the conversation and help you understand each other more.
The will help to make sure that you’re both feeling heard.
This is part of the power of mediation – the whole process is confidential, so anything that you say and express in mediation cannot be used against you later in negotiating, or in litigation. So you are really encouraged to explore some of those things with the guidance of the mediator.
And then the final role of a mediator, of course, is to get you to an agreement.
The mediator helps with some creative problem solving around each of the issues.
Once you’ve identified all the issues, talked about your needs, the mediator will then help you explore options for each of the issues to resolve them. So you might end up with two or three ways of resolving each issue, and then working through into which combination best suits you in terms of an agreement.
So if you have any other questions, or to find more about how to find the right mediator for you, please email me.