Perspectives from a Mediator/Arbitrator

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mediation tip #2 - Mediation styles?

Like lawyers and like people in general, mediators have styles, approaches, perspectives, strengths and weaknesses. I once attended an Advocate's Society's seminar in which I was invited to be a guest mediator as students worked on mediation skills. Of the six mediators who were there, three of the mediators did the mediation without ever splitting up the parties into different rooms and three of us almost immediately split the parties into different rooms and conducted the mediation by way of "shuttle diplomacy". Interestingly, all the mediators were able to assist the students in achieving a resolution but they had obviously used very different techniques to do so. I was a "shuttle diplomacy" mediator. I am now finding in my own mediations that oftentimes the parties do not even want to do a joint session at the beginning of the mediation. There does not appear to me to be any direct positive or negative correlation between doing a joint session at the commencement of the mediation and not doing it. I think that there are cases where one is necessary and there are cases where it would be obviously counterproductive. So while mediators will hopefully have many common characteristics such as the ability to listen well, work well with people, synthesize infomation and a sense of humour, the manner in which the mediation will be conducted will vary widely from mediator to mediator and even from one mediation to another mediation with the same mediator. My best tip here is to know or learn the style of the mediator that you will be working with as it will help you to achieve a positive result. Next up - Mediation Tip #3 - Opening Statements.


Post a Comment

<< Home