What We Do (and Don’t Do!)

Dr Mike Talbot Articles, Dr Mike Talbot

The first in a series of articles commemorating the 20th anniversary of UK Mediation…

Mediation can often be a confusing area to navigate for those looking to seek out its services.

With so many providers populating the industry, all claiming to offer different things or be the best ones around, it can be quite the headache if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for. For example, some organisations may deal with just mediation, whilst others may offer it as part of an array of wider services, be it investigations, determinations or consultancy.

Researching mediation training, in much the same way, can also be a nightmare. As it stands, there is no universally-recognised standard for this area, meaning lots of different providers will offer all sorts of freebies, quality assurances, and accreditations (read more about this here).

Factor in that they all have their own methods and price points, and it can be difficult to know who would be the right choice for your situation. And, when we consider that the dispute may involve yourself, be affecting the organisation that you work for, or that your company is investing thousands of pounds into the training, this could well be crucial.

So, without further ado, here’s what we’re all about…

Some things we are:
• Mediators
• Facilitators
• Organisational Consultants
• Educators and trainers

Some things we aren’t:
• Lawyers
• Arbitrators
• HR professionals
• Investigators

Some things we do:
• Understand the underlying psychology of conflict: where it comes from, why we find it hard to resolve, and what we need in order to move on from it.

• Apply a unique model of mediation to resolve conflict in a range of settings

• Promote dialogue and collaboration among people who are in dispute

• Operate a panel of expert mediators who can quickly resolve situations of conflict

• Work with individuals who find themselves coming repeatedly into dispute with others: supporting them to manage conflict better

• Train people to be able to incorporate mediation skills into their professional roles

• Qualify and accredit professional mediators

• Educate individuals, teams, and whole organisations in the skills and techniques of preventing, managing, and resolving conflict

Some things we don’t do:
Give legal advice
We are not solicitors who advise people of how to win or successfully defend claims, but impartial third parties who set up the right conditions to bring about productive dialogue and collaborative resolution.

Evaluate employment claims
Our aim is to support the early resolution of disputes so that a claim does not ever have to be made.

Conduct workplace investigations
Working impartially, confidentially, and with the aim of a win-win outcome to every situation, we do not engage in past-focused, evidential processes, report-writing, or the attribution of blame and fault.

Use mediation as a box-ticking exercise
We advise and encourage people to try mediation in good faith and with the intention of ending their dispute: ideally to try mediation early in the life of a dispute, and never as a last resort.

Quote exaggerated percentage ‘settlement rates’ for our mediation successes
Success in mediation does not have to mean reaching a watertight written agreement or contract, just to keep HR or the lawyers happy. We could do that 100% of the time, but it would not necessarily mean any improvement in people’s relationships. ‘Success’ for us is about having healthier dialogue, retaining people, precluding formal processes, improving retention and engagement, and understanding that healthy, well managed conflict is a valuable force for change and innovation.

Provide online ‘mediation’
Our expertise is in the psychological processes that underpin conflict, and using this to promote healthy dialogue and collaboration. This can only be done effectively when face-to-face and in the presence of a highly skilled practitioner. Online ‘mediation’ is only suited to problem-solving, and not the more difficult task of re-building and strengthening people’s interpersonal relationships.

It is important to note that the point of this article isn’t to claim that we are the best mediation company around (even if we think it’s true!). Instead, it is just to state, in the simplest of terms, who we are and what we do.

After all, we understand that looking for the right mediation service can be a bit of a minefield and, with a lot potentially riding on your choice, it can be so important to make the right decision. And, whilst there will be some things that UK Mediation can’t help you with, there will also be lots of other things that we can.

Of course, please get in touch should you have any more questions about the services or training we provide. You can also call us on 01773 829982 or email us at hello@ukmediation.net.