Mediation is an intervention in an ongoing dispute in order to resolve it without going to court. It is usually a flexible process in which a neutral mediator facilitates the negotiation between parties and help reach a settlement.
The focus of mediation is on finding solutions to the dispute and meet the parties’ concerns.
Many times we may find ourselves in a situation when we need to mediate and resolve a conflict between common friends, between family members, between colleagues or between members of the community. Here is a 15 step approach to help mediate a conflict.
Prepare and establish the purpose
Reaffirm the willingness of both parties’ desire to be there and their motivation to seek a solution.
Establish mediator’s role in a mediation
Convey to the parties that your job as the mediator is neither to decide who is right or wrong nor to settle the conflict, but to help the parties speak openly to each other, hear each other’s point of view, and come to a basis of resolution.
Lay the ground rules for mediation
Lay down the rules of communication, confidentiality and other matters pertinent to that situation. Establish time limits for the process. Arrange for separate meetings if required. Finally, reaffirm the willingness to seek a resolution.
Listen carefully to the parties on the dispute. Encourage them to speak more and aim to dissect the dispute in entirety. Do not contradict what they say. At this stage, your job as a mediator is not to make judgments, but to listen and understand the conflict. Have each party explain in a stipulated amount of time how they see the situation, without interruptions from the other party.
Question and clarify
Question the parties on all relevant confusions. Clarify at every stage to grasp the facts and the areas of controversy. Motivate each party to speak more.
Look beyond the incident
There is a possibility that it is not the specific incident but the perspective of the individuals that caused anger and ultimately created the conflict. In such situations, the source of the conflict might be a minor problem.
Define points of dispute and agreement
Help the participants to move towards a position where they start to understand each other’s point of view. This will eventually help to start the resolution process. The key is to know the points of dispute and agreement for both.
Request for possible solutions
After listening to each party making their points in the conflict, move on to making them identify the situations that can be changed and that can remain status quo. From here onwards the parties should be working towards how to make things better for themselves.
Take a break
Taking a break is essential both for you as the mediator as well as for the parties.
Create options for agreement
Identify the simplest areas of agreement and then proceed from there. As a mediator, your role is to make sure that all participants are equally involved in the idea generation phase. Brainstorming might be necessary to reach a common ground. Let the parties propose possible options and then evaluate them.
Develop an agreement
This is where you draft the agreement in a document. Make sure your language is neutral and not biased towards one party. You should also itemize each individual points so that they are clearly understood. Summarize progress and next subsequent steps to be taken.
Avoid legalistic language
Mediation is not in the court of law, hence avoid legal jargons as much as possible. Keep the recordings simple for common people to understand.
Finally, summarize the entire session. The summary should include the names of the people who were present, the ideas proposed, the interim or final solutions accepted, and the future course of action if necessary.
Maintain a high level of EQ
This is a general character and not necessarily a part of the process. Throughout the entire session, you will have to maintain a high level of Emotional Quotient. This is primarily to understand the underlying emotions that that caused the conflict. This is an absolute necessity to be unbiased.
Throughout the entire mediation, you as a mediator should show empathy. This will immensely help the parties to put themselves in each others’ shoes.
Learn more about mediation from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediation
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