Conflict resolution by mediation
Conflict resolution by mediation is based on the idea, that the conflicting parties themselves have the ability to find solutions best tailored to their needs.
People are usually able to know and express their needs. In an escalated conflict the parties don’t do this anymore. Mediation opens new ways in communication to retain respect and mutual appreciation.
How does a conflict start
Conflicts are part of our community-life. If they are repressed rather than dealt with, they tend to escalate. Conflicts can offer opportunities to get to know other perceptions and – in the best case – come to new, creative solutions.
A simple disagreement is not a conflict yet. Only if bad faith is presumed behind the other opinion and never openly adressed – a conflict starts to develop.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a facilitated, constructive negotiation process for resolving differeces and conflicts between individuals, groups and organisations. It is a cost effective alternative to avoidance, destructive confrontation, prolonged litigation or violence. Mediation does not look for guilt or objective truth, but for the individual views of the conflicting parties, their needs and concerns. It gives people in conflict an opportunity to take responsibility for the resolution of their dispute and control of the outcome.
Benefits of mediation
Parties are encouraged to work together to solve problems and reach the best solution
A registered mediator cannot testify for or against a party. What is said in mediation cannot be used later in court or arbitration.
Mediation is usually cheaper than litigation
- Private and personal
Mediation takes place in a private environment rather than an open courtroom, and the parties decide who needs to be involved.
Procedure of a mediation
Initial discussion (free)
A first overview of the conflict is given and it it my job to decide, if the case is suitable for a mediation.
The number of participants and possible time-slots are discussed. Questions about details of the procedure of mediation are answered.
Clarification of frame conditions by the mediator: is additional legal consultation necessary, where will the sessions take place. Explanation of the “rules of the game”.
Collection of information and topics
This is the start of the practical work. The views of the participants are heard, questions are asked only to avoid misunderstandings. The conversation takes place between the mediator and each participant. The others only listen and make notes. Final output of this phase is a list of topics to be clarified, and the sequence to process them.
Clarifying the needs and interests
This is the heart of the mediation. The real interests and needs connected to the conflict are explored. Anything relevant for the conflict shall be unveiled. The mediator helps by putting appropriate questions and uses tools of communication and mediation. The communication takes now also place between the conflicting parties. The mediator helps and leads this discussion.
Working on solutions and assessing them
Due to the better mutual understanding, the “conflict” has turned to a “problem” which can be solved together. The role of the mediator in this phase is to use different tools to enable the development of a number of possible solutions that cover as many needs of the parties as possible. With joined forces the participants evaluate the feasability of the solutions.
Concluding an agreement
The mutually agreed solutions are summarized in an agreement in a way that secures a realistic implementation. Responsibilities as well as timelines for implementation are defined. The agreement is signed by all participants and therefore binding for all.
A few months after the mediation a check of the agreemend and its implementation is often helpful to get back on track and clarify any questions that came up.