Q: What is mediation?
A: Mediation is facilitated communications between disagreeing parties. It can best be described as Facilitated Communications for Agreement or Facilitated Negotiation.
Central to mediation is the concept of "informed consent." As long as participants understand the nature of a contemplated mediation process and effectively consent to participate in the described process, virtually any mediation process is possible and appropriate. In terms of generally describing the mediation process, the following concepts may be helpful.
You can end the process at any time for any reason, or no reason.
You are encouraged to work together to solve your problem(s) and to reach what you perceive to be your fairest and most constructive agreement.
You have complete decision-making power. Each of you has a veto over each and every provision of any mediated agreement. Nothing can be imposed on you.
Mediation is a confidential conversation that occurs among the participants and the mediator. The purpose of confidentiality is to encourage full sharing of information and creativity in generating options to increase the likelihood of resolution without fear that ideas or remarks will be later be used against participants.
Impartial, Neutral, Balanced and Safe
The mediator has an equal and balanced responsibility to assist each mediating party and cannot favor the interests of any one party over another, nor should the mediator favor a particular result in the mediation. The mediator's role is to ensure that parties reach agreements in a voluntarily and informed manner, and not as a result of coercion or intimidation.
Self-Responsible and Satisfying
By being actively involved in your own conflict, participant satisfaction, likelihood of compliance and self-esteem are found by research to be elevated through mediation.
Q: What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
A: People in disputes who are considering using mediation as a way to resolve their differences often want to know what the process offers. While mediation cannot guarantee specific results, there are several characteristic of good mediation. Below is a list of some of the benefits of mediation, broadly considered. Mediation generally produces or promotes:
Mutually Satisfactory Outcomes
Parties are generally more satisfied with solutions that have been mutually agreed upon, rather than solutions that are imposed by a third party decision-maker.
High Rate of Compliance
Parties who have reached their own agreement in mediation are also more likely to follow through and comply with its terms than parties who have resolution imposed by a third party decision-maker.
Greater Degree of Control and Predictability of Outcome
Parties who negotiate their own settlements have more control over the outcome of their dispute.
Preservation of an Ongoing Relationship
Many disputes happen in situations in which relationships will continue for future years after the conflict has occurred. A mediated settlement that addresses all parties' interests can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose decision-making procedure. Mediation provides a win-win resolution.
Workable and Implementable Decisions
Parties who mediate their differences are able to attend to the fine details of implementation. Negotiated or mediated agreements can include specially tailored processes or procedures for how the decisions will be carried out. This fact often enhances the likelihood that parties will actually comply with the terms of the settlement.
Decisions that Hold Up Over Time
Mediated settlements tend to hold up over time, and if a later dispute arises, the parties are more likely to utilize a cooperative forum of problem-solving to resolve new differences than to pursue an adversarial approach by a third party decision maker.
Q: What is the role of the mediator?
A. Mediation happens when parties in a conflict use a third party facilitator (mediator) to help the parties arrive at some agreement about a conflict. A mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator. The mediator will not listen to the conflict parties and decide who is right or what should be done. The mediator is there to help the conflict parties come to a mutual agreement about the conflict. The mediator helps to structure the actual mediation process and to facilitate communication between the parties.