The A-Z of Mediation: Assertiveness

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Welcome to a new series of blogs on our website called ‘The A-Z of Mediation’. Each week, we will be taking a look at different topics relating to mediation: ranging from essential skills, parts of the mediation process, or the outcomes that we look to achieve. First up is “Assertiveness”, which is a crucial skill for any good mediator. An …

The A-Z of Mediation: Building Teamwork

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Conflict in the workplace is common. Most of the time, things can be sorted out with a quiet informal chat. When they can’t, however, they can soon take a turn for the worse. Communication breaks down, other people get drawn in, and what begins as a difference of opinion can quickly become a much larger issue for the workplace. Workplace …

The A-Z of Mediation: Co-Mediation

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” And, depending on the circumstances, this can sometimes be true when talking about mediation. Co-mediation, as it is called, is where the process features more than one mediator, usually two. It is common in family mediation, especially in cases of couple separation. Many mediation providers of this nature try …

The A-Z of Mediation: Disclosure

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

The disclosure and non-disclosure of information are both important aspects of the mediation process. On one hand, information is necessary to resolve the conflict. Mediation is effective because it is a way to get thoughts and feelings out into the open, in order to create understanding and empathy between the participants. Because of this, we want the participants to willingly …

The A-Z of Mediation: Empathy

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Communication is the main driving force of mediation. And, as a lot of it goes through the mediator, the importance of EMPATHY must not be understated. Empathy is a part of active listening, a set of skills that allows us to communicate that what is being said has been heard and understood. It also shows interest and concern in the …

The A-Z of Mediation: Flexibility

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

One of the most prominent advantages of mediation, and undoubtedly one of its greatest strengths, lies in its FLEXIBILITY. When you consider the number of variables that can be involved in a dispute, flexibility is an important factor to consider when deciding on the resolution method. There are varying concerns, needs and motives for each participant, all of which must be …

The A-Z of Mediation: Gestures

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

In the grand scheme of communication, gestures and body language are incredibly important. In fact, Albert Mehrabian (1972) famously founded the “7-38-55 rule”, which breaks down the factors of communication in expressing feelings and opinions. He theorised that non-verbal body language took up the majority of overall communication with 55%, whilst 38% is based on the voice, including intonation and beat. Surprising as …

The A-Z of Mediation: Honesty

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

When you consider the importance of honesty in mediation, you would be forgiven for thinking that it could only be applied to the disputants. After all, one of the main goals of mediation is for the participants to have an honest, open, and frank discussion, airing their thoughts and opinions to promote understanding and Empathy. However, the mediator plays a …

The A-Z of Mediation: Impartiality

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

On our flagship training course, the Interpersonal Mediation Practitioner’s Certificate, there is a group activity that perfectly highlights the glaring need to maintain impartiality. Split into pairs, learners are handed a sheet of paper with two large text boxes, under the following headings: “Think of five trivial things that would be likely to bias you towards someone” “Think of five trivial …

The A-Z of Mediation: Jokes

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Jokes and “banter” in the workplace are by no means a bad thing. After all, getting to know the people around you can often bring people out of their shells, promote collaboration and even boost productivity. In fact, in a recent survey, 76% of men and 56% of women said that they regularly participate in workplace banter to get to …

The A-Z of Mediation: Keep It Simple!

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

There are few things in life quite as simple as sitting down and having a conversation with someone. Whether it be small talk about the weather, or debating the meaning of life, the actual process itself is very straight-forward. However, mediation, on the surface, is no ordinary conversation. As a means of conflict resolution, it might actually look incredibly complicated, …

The A-Z of Mediation: Listening

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

There are not many situations in life that can truly be considered to have a win/win outcome. With regards to conflict and disputes, weighing up and balancing each side’s aims and objectives can be an especially challenging task, even for the most experienced of resolvers. Fortunately, this is where mediation shines. Contrary to other forms of resolution, such as arbitration …

The A-Z of Mediation: Miscommunication

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Unfortunately, miscommunications do happen. After all, most people have been in that regrettable situation where something we’ve said has either been misinterpreted or completely misheard. Often, it can be worked out straight away, but, on other occasions, it may spiral out of control and become a long-running dispute. And, as we all know, underlying conflict can severely damage the productivity …

The A-Z of Mediation: Non-Maleficence

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

As we all know, even the smallest of conflicts can drag themselves out and rumble on for some time. During this, we can often get too involved and become stuck in our ways, to the point where we’re perhaps not even sure what started it all. More importantly, we can actually become quite “comfortable” in them too. We find ways of …

The A-Z of Mediation: Optimism

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Optimism is a hugely important attribute for a mediator to have. And, whilst it might not be one that springs to mind straight away, it is a trait that can have a massive impact on the mediation process. Most importantly, mediators must have faith and confidence in the process. After all, if they don’t think mediation can work, how can …

The A-Z of Mediation: Patience

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Speak to just about any mediator and they will tell you stories of cases where their patience was tested to the absolute maximum – cases where the solution seemed so blindingly obvious that everyone in the world outside of the disputants might be able to see it. But, due to the fact that they’re so caught up in the conflict, they are simply …

The A-Z of Mediation: Questioning

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

As we’ve already covered LISTENING in our ‘A-Z of Mediation’ series, it is now time to look at another crucial skill that goes hand-in-hand and is equally as important – QUESTIONING. And, just like listening, a good mediator will use questions to draw out information, improve their understanding of the situation and, above all else, give the opportunity for all participants …

The A-Z of Mediation: Reframing

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

When we ask past learners about parts of our mediation training that they found particularly useful, REFRAMING is an area that always pops up. And it’s for good reason. Whilst it is a skill that has many applications throughout life, it is also one of the most important tools that mediators have at their disposal. It is used to lessen …

The A-Z of Mediation: Surroundings

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Conflict can be a scary thing. Individuals may be nervous about confrontation, worried about what other people might think, or perhaps apprehensive about knock-on effects. And, if you add in the process of mediation, which people usually have never experienced before, the fear can often be amplified. As such, we must take steps to make the environment as comfortable, safe, …

The A-Z of Mediation: Trust

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

As they enter themselves into a private conflict, mediators will always be striving to gain the trust of the involved parties. However, the parties not only need to trust the mediator, but also each other and the actual process of mediation too. After all, this will all be beneficial to what we are looking to achieve. For example, when trust levels are …

The A-Z of Mediation: Upholding the Agreement

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Whilst mediation is largely successful in producing an agreeable outcome for all parties (boasting a general success rate of around 80%), the real work starts once the mediation has finished. And, whilst not all of them will be stuck to, or work out in the long run, there are a number of ways in which the nature of mediation can …

The A-Z of Mediation: Voluntary Participation

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There are many reasons why people choose mediation as a means of resolving conflict. These could include the impartiality and the confidentiality that comes as standard, or the simple reason that it’s just cheaper and quicker than other methods. However, through our experience, the main benefit that people seem to point towards is that the process is voluntary. And this is …

The A-Z of Mediation: Win-Win Outcome

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

We may not always realise it but we are involved in many negotiations on a daily basis. Whether it be haggling down a shopkeeper, deciding who will buy the next round on a night out, or even trying to get your kids to tidy their room, there can be a limitless number of possible outcomes in every scenario. Having said …

The A-Z of Mediation: X-Ray Vision

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

With all of the success of mediation across a wide variety of sectors in recent years, it’s important to remember that mediators aren’t miracle workers, nor do they have x-ray vision. Very often, in fact, they won’t get told about all aspects of the dispute, either because details have been left out by the parties, or because they have been …

The A-Z of Mediation: Young Mediators

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

While there are many mediator qualifications out there, very few offer unlimited lifetime support once the course is over. And, from speaking to prospective trainees, this is arguably one of the first things they look for. After all, there is an undeniable gap between training and finding cases, just as there is in any line of work: Great, you’ve got …

The A-Z of Mediation: Zones

Scott McIver Articles, The A-Z of Mediation

Throughout the journey of a dispute, including the mediation process, the participants may find themselves in several different “areas” or “zones” (metaphorically speaking, of course!) These, of course, would be the ‘Past‘, ‘Present‘, and ‘Future‘. And, in most conflicts, participants are focusing purely on the Past: “They played music really loud and it kept me up!” “They didn’t do their …