Andrew Sims
How mediation works

A skilled mediator will create the right conditions for a measured, focused discussion to take place – one which will help to bring clarity and a way forward. There are, typically, four stages to a mediation.

I will meet the participants separately, to understand what has been going on from their perspective and how it has affected them. In these separate meetings, I will clarify what matters most to each participant – what are the most important things for them, to be sorted out.

In the joint meeting, I will help to identify and explore the differences that exist between the participants. In doing so, this will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of where the other is coming from.

I will then help to explore possibilities for a way forward - including one's that may have been difficult to discuss in a direct, face to face negotiation. All options will be 'reality tested', taking into account each participant's needs and concerns.

Where appropriate, I will help to shape a consensus - this could be a joint decision or an agreement that seems sensible and fair to all participants.

Why mediation works

The introduction of an experienced mediator will change the dynamic and focus minds. The mediator will ensure that all participants have their say and are heard and understood by each other.

The mediation process is tried and tested. It is structured (this helps to keep things moving forward, at a purposeful pace) and there are ground rules (speak one at a time; take a break if needed, equal 'air time'). The meeting is confidential - it is held in private and all ideas for a way forward can be brain-stormed with openness.

Mediation often brings a fresh perspective, or a change in perception that can make a decisive difference.

When to consider mediation

Mediation is used successfully across a variety of difficult situations which are often messy, complex and emotionally charged.

These might include scenarios where:

  • There has been a breakdown in trust
  • Communications are under strain
  • Relationships are fractious or fractured

In all of these scenarios mediation can bring clarity and options for a way forward.