Mock mediation: Q & A and learning

June 24th, 2016

Questions and learning from our mock mediation session on 25 May 2016

d7f1aea46afe436d8c9d54f6e15b10a7Thank you to those who attended our launch event on 25th May and for the great audience participation in our live mock mediation. We were delighted by the positive feedback that we received as well as the praise for our acting skills!

Below are some of the questions that were asked of our expert panel as well as some of the learnings taken from the day. Watch this space for future similar events.

Q and A

Q: Can I take notes during the mediation session?

A: All mediators will have their own style and there is nothing to stop you from taking notes during the mediation as an aide memoire and to put a structure around the mediation. However, it is important to remember that the process is confidential and it will be important to reassure the parties that any notes taken will be destroyed after the process and not relied upon. As it is an informal process there is no need to have a formal record of the meeting or what was said and you can only report back what the parties agree for you to report back. There is also a danger that if you are taking a lot of notes you are not engaging with the parties as you will find it hard to engage in eye contact and listen effectively; which are key skills for mediators.
Q: I noticed that the mediator sat back and let the parties take control of the process during the exchange. I felt as an observer that I wanted to step in and offer a solution. Is it quite difficult to learn to sit back?

A: It is the mediator’s role to guide the parties through the process and whilst the mediator may get the parties to think about the future and what that might look like / how things might be different, it is important that the mediator does not impose a solution on the parties. There is often a temptation to want to step in early but our experience is that if you sit back and let the parties take control of the process this is hugely empowering for the individuals. As our Consultant, John Drowley says, “have faith in the power of the mediation process”.

Learnings that people took from the event

  • To hold the space – this empowers the parties; avoid the temptation to step in too early and trying to impose a solution. The success of a mediation is not measured by what the parties may / may not agree.
  • No need to take copious notes – I know, as an ex-employment lawyer, how hard this habit is to break but it can be quite liberating and if you can achieve it, it definitely helps in ensuring you maintain eye contact, listen effectively and build rapport with the parties.
  • The art of positive reframing – this is another key skill of a mediator. The mediator will take something that the party has said and without changing the essence of it, reframe it in a more positive way. This is a great skill which, once mastered, can not only be used to great effect in mediations, but also in all aspects of life!
  • Summarising back – another useful tool that a mediator uses is to check in with the parties and to check understanding. It is all too easy to think that we have understood something or someone and to make assumptions about the impact that a certain behaviour has on someone but unless we check our understanding we can make incorrect assumptions and judgments and as a mediator it is important to be independent and neutral at all times.

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