Services - Adult Mediation

We offer mediation in a number of areas including:

Workplace Disputes
Parent/Adolescent Mediation
Community Disputes
Family Dispute Resolution

We have included in this section some useful information and tips when dealing with adult mediation

  1. Statement Stage
  2. Negotiation/Exploration Stage
  3. Addressing Power Imbalances


Statement Stage

Some useful questions you might ask.

Remember in this stage we want to get the facts of what's going on.

At the end of the statement stage two important questions to ask:

Is there anything else you want to talk about today?

What's something that you would really like to achieve out of today's session?

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Negotiation Exploration With Parties

What sort of questions can I ask?

There are three stages of negotiating with your parties. In the first stage we need to assist parties to communicate. Given the high levels of conflict that parties enter mediation with, simple direct questioning of parties can be encouraging.

Some questions you might find useful in this stage (particularly in opening exploration/negotiation);

"Allan, I sense this issue is important for you. Tell Lisa what it means to you?"
"Irene, when you said XXXX, tell Peter what you mean by that." "Tell Peter, how this issue made you feel at the time."
"Can you tell Alex a little more about that?"
"Explain to John, why this is so important to you?"

In the next stage, it is important that you get the other party to not only listen to what they have heard, but to acknowledge it. Remember that in normal conflict, we do not tend to listen, rather we are thinking about our next strategy of attack.

Some questions you might use at this stage are;

"John, can you repeat back what you just heard, Trish say?" "David, when you heard, Ann say XxXx to you, what do you think she meant?"
"Ron, what did Peter just say?"
"Could you tell Nina what's worrying you about this issue?"
"What have you heard paula say?"
"What do you think Kelly feels about that?"
"Can you tell Luke, your understanding of the situation?"

Getting parties to both explore and move on issues, is perhaps the hardest part of mediation. It is often at this stage, that mediators are tempted to suggest solutions or possibilities. Remember to future focus parties when-ever possible. Questions you might use in this stage include;

"Can you suggest to Peter how things could be better in the future?"
"Has anyone got ideas on how this could be better?"
"What would be a better way of handling this sort of situation again if it arises?"
"Tell Keith, your ideas."
"You've both talked about what didn't work in the past, talk about a time that it did work."
"You've both mentioned this idea, can you expand on it?"
"Can you tell Jane, how the situation could be improved?"

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Addressing Power Imbalances

Through carefully adhering to the process of mediation, we can automatically address many power imbalances. For example;

All parties are treated with equal respect.
Basic rules of listening are used to allow parties the opportunity for equal time and say.
Where-ever possible, neutral settings are used.
We attempt to separate problems from the parties (agenda on the board).
We assist parties to look at the differences of emotions vs the issues.
Mediators are both non-judgmental and do not give advice.
Positives are encouraged rather than bringing up past negative issues.
At all times we attempt to help the parties co-operate.

The balance of power between parties can affect any negotiated outcomes that they might reach in agreements. For this reason we need to be sensitive to ensuring that agreements reflect everyone's interests and an acceptable balance is reached. For this reason, it is more prudent to look at acceptable/acceptable outcomes rather than win/win.

One area of common dispute in mediation is around a lack of information or perceived lack of information by one party. A mediator can use their skills to counter this by asking questions such as;

"Is this the first time you have heard this information?"
"Do you need to check out this new information, you have just heard?"
"You seem concerned over what you just heard, would you like time to check it out?"
"How could you find more out about this issue?"
"Could you tell John, how you came to get this piece of information?"
"How could this information affect what we are talking about?"

As a process, mediation can be empowering to all parties. Never make assumptions about existing power relationships. The fact that parties made the effort to come to mediation in the first instance suggests a strength in itself. As mediators, we model good behaviour, this will often rub off onto your participants.

By allowing parties to both explore and negotiate issues, this will allow each party to vent their emotions, whilst with the help of the mediator, see the other person's point of view (although this does not mean they must agree with it).

By reminding parties that they are responsible for finding their own solutions, we empower parties to recognise that they are capable of finding their own creative solutions amongst the conflict.

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