Ever feel unsure how to have “that” conversation? Mediation really involves simply having a conversation. The conversation happens in a private, confidential space and a neutral person, the mediator, helps.
The conversation may be about a family matter, a workplace or organizational conflict, or a community issue. A neutral person, the mediator, facilitates the conversation. The mediator helps the participants clarify what they want to discuss, and helps them keep focus during the conversation.
After each participant shares their wishes and needs, the mediator asks questions to better understand the situation. This helps each person clarify what they really need, and usually helps the participants better understand each other.
Then, the mediator helps participants discuss options. So often conflict happens when folks get stuck in fighting about strategies, or ways to meet their needs. Once folks realize more than one solution exists, they may choose one that neither person considered. People are often surprised to learn they do not have to do things they way their parents, neighbors, colleagues, or barber’s cousin’s friend did.
After discussing options, the participants make decisions. When participants agree, the mediator will type it up or write it down on paper. The participants then decide what, if anything, they do with the written understanding. They may simply honor it, choose to speak with individual attorneys to be sure they understand their legal rights, or reframe it into a legal document to file with the Court.
Even when the participants do not reach a written agreement, they see value in the mediation session. The most “successful” mediations may be one where folks walk out without a signed written agreement. Instead, they leave with a better understanding of each other and confidence in their ability to talk things through together.
What are you creating in your conversations? You create life in each moment as you choose what you think, say, and do. You also choose how you address issues, and how much, if at all, you let conflict control your life. If you need help having a conversation, contact Bruckner Mediation or another mediator.