The alpha and omega of mediation

Tobias Volz posted 3 years ago, 1 Responses
Mediation can be utilized whenever a conflict is present. Mediators do not need to have specific knowledge of the thematic background of the conflict environment. The reason, therefore, is that mediators only work with information the parties deliver them. Mediators need to be transparent. Mediation includes conflict analysis, crisis management, and a set of communication tools. 
Parties need to be ready to participate in the sessions. Even if the process does not end with an agreement, viewpoints and perspectives will be sorted out. The mediation should end with a win: win scenario, not with a win: lose or lose: lose situation. 
The mediator needs to create space and a safe environment in which disputants can speak freely and open. Parties need to understand that the outcome is not to make a compromise but reach a solution they are convinced about. 
From my viewpoint, working with only the information that is delivered by the parties is relevant, but also challenging. Especially when it comes to international and complex conflicts, I also see the relevance of the mediator to research to understand the history of the conflict. Especially if disputes are complicated and longlasting, much false information might exist as well. However, I see the importance of not adding assumptions or interpretations of the mediator in mediation processes. In some cases, it might help to bring them on the table but then need to be marked as an assumption to be clarified by the parties. This could help the parties to reflect their perspectives as well. 

Dear Tobias,

yes, you are totally correct. Research is very important. The difference is that by working with the information delivered by the parties, the responsibility of content and corresponding progress is totally in their hands.

Previously realized research may help to create relevant questions, but – from my point of view – should never be used in a way that the conflicted parties may switch the responsibility of the outcome of the mediation process to the mediator. Such could happen with comments like: ‘We could have agreed, but you did not do your homework!!!’

BR, Daniel