What is Mediation? – Birds on the Blog

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a much-misunderstood concept

So people have a very good understanding of what they think it is, especially if they have participated in one. It’s quite surprising how often I would start mediation with people who have no idea what it is, but they have a misconception it’s really some sort of jumped up the negotiation process, that perhaps involves horse-trading and shuttle diplomacy, but it really isn’t that.

Mediation when it’s done well it’s a very different beast altogether. It’s really a facilitated conversation with an independent person. I hesitate to say, with someone who is helping the parties to listen to one another and to encourage them to find ways to collaborate to get themselves out of whatever situation it is they’ve managed to get themselves into.

Mediation is a very future-focused process

Unlike most other internal processes, for example court proceedings or workplace place processes which tend to be very fact-finding, looking at grievances or disciplinary processes.  They almost always start with some sort of evidence exchanging or investigation which is essentially looking at who’s right and who is wrong, which for the parties who are in conflict with one another, tends to be a very stressful process.

Mediation will look to try to resolve the outstanding issues and concerns. Sometimes I’m required to delve somewhere beyond how the parties got to where they are and much more about helping the parties to find a way forward to resolve their issues. When mediation is done properly, it’s a process that requires people to be quite introspective and reflective of their own shortcomings. It can be very painful and difficult but it’s surprising how cathartic it can be

The statistics bear themselves out. Over 90% of cases will settle, which is impressive and very encouraging

AUTHOR: Winnie Onyekwere accredited Workplace, Commercial and Community Mediator


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