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How to Get the Most From Mediation

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Early intervention is key for mediation to be at its most effective. It’s not as effective if you use it as a last resort or a punishment.

It’s also important to understand how to implement mediation effectively, in terms of how you build it into your processes and how you get each party involved.

We were recently involved in delivering part of the webinar, Restorative Approaches and Mediation by Forbes Solicitors, to discuss this in detail. In this article we will share what we went through along with a link to the recording to help you get the most out of mediation.

When mediation works best

First, let’s keep the benefits of mediation front of mind. Mediation:

  • Saves those involved time, money and stress
  • Can avoid the need for lengthy evidence gathering or court proceedings
  • Empowers individuals to find their own solutions

When we consider the third point above, it’s clear to see that how you introduce mediation as an option needs careful thought. It’s vital that those involved don’t feel forced into mediation. Equally, for mediation to be successful, the parties involved need to want to resolve their situation. If you force mediation on people it won’t work. Mediation works when progress is driven by the parties and aided by the mediator, not the other way around.

Make mediation an integral part of your complaint resolution process

Mediation also works best when it’s truly embedded into your organisation. If it’s part of your standard procedures you’re able to act fast when situations arise. It’s always best to try and nip things in the bud before they escalate. The earlier you can implement mediation in a case, the better it will perform.

Related article: Make Mediation Part of Your Complaints Process

Overcoming incorrect assumptions

If people aren’t familiar with mediation it’s common to come across some common misconceptions, like:

  • Parties believing the mediators will look at the evidence and take action
  • We should only use mediation once we’ve tried everything else
  • If the parties break the mediation agreement the mediators will take further action
  • A mediation agreement is the best resolution

These aren’t accurate representations of what mediation is and what it sets out to achieve.

As we’ve mentioned, mediators are there to guide the conversation, not to dictate it. And it’s important to introduce mediation as soon as possible.

Mediation agreements aren’t legal documents, they are based on trust between the parties involved. Mediators won’t take any action if agreements are broken. All the mediators can do in this instance is offer further mediation.

That’s why there’s much more that goes into a successful resolution than simply a case resulting in a signed agreement. Establishing positive communication, addressing any misunderstandings and changing behaviours are far more beneficial when it comes to creating a sustainable positive outcome.

To summarise:

  • Mediators are impartial and not there to decide who is right or wrong – they have no powers
  • Mediators are the to facilitate the mediation between the parties
  • Mediators encourage people to resolve their own disputes
  • If any of the parties won’t engage, mediation can’t be forced
  • Mediation seeks to break destructive cycles
  • If an agreement is broken no formal action can be taken

Understanding this and how mediation fits into conflict resolution processes will help you get the most out of mediation.

Related article: What Is a Successful Mediation?

Watch the webinar

The Restorative Approaches and Mediation webinar is now available to watch on YouTube, simply click the link here to access the recording: Restorative Approaches & Mediation.

You will see us discuss what we’ve covered in this article and we also look at conflict coaching techniques.

There’s also content from Forbes Solicitors to cover restorative approaches and Progress Housing share how they’ve embedded mediation into their processes.

If you want to find out more about how we can help with our mediation services, please just contact us today.

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