Mediation is generally not a step people take when everything is fine – there’s no such thing as “just-in-case” mediation. Yet many people tend to think of mediation as one of two extremes: Either a magical fix-all that will instantly solve their problems or as a perfunctory episode that has no chance of solving their problems. Either attitude can guarantee that mediation fails as a strategy, but there’s another factor in mediation failure: A lack of preparation.
An endeavor’s success is often directly tied to the effort that both parties bring to it – even more so in mediation. You have to come into the experience prepared in order to give your mediation the best possible chance.
Mediation Preparation Step One: Be on the Same Side
As both parties’ enter into mediation, their willingness to look, and work together, for a solution is a crucial point that both parties must absolutely agree on. The process is almost guaranteed to fail if one party rejects mediation and is forced into it.
Committing to the process and entering into it in the spirit of cooperation are some of the essential work to be done prior to walking into the mediation room. This commitment and cooperation are not reasons for you to abandon your grievances and goals – rather they reinforce the way you view mediation as a way to resolve them.
Mediation Preparation Step Two: Know What Mediation Is and Isn’t
Understanding how the mediation process works and what it can do is the next essential part of preparing for it. It seeks to generate a mutually acceptable solution through facilitated discussion between parties that are guided by a professional, trained neutral – your mediator. A mediator is not a judge hearing your case, and as such, has no authority to impose a solution. Although all of them have the skills and experience to intelligently suggest ideas, compromises, and other solutions that can help the discussion, their role in the process is mainly an advisory one. When chosen correctly, most mediators can offer practical, workable advice on how to settle things because they have considerable experience in the field in which the dispute occurs.
Other factors that could make mediation fail are expecting that you can “argue” your case, and having the wrong notion that you can convince the mediator to “take your side.” Your chances of success shoot up exponentially when you understand that the mediator is a skilled guide who can help get you where you want to be. cost of mediation