What is mediation like?
Mediation can be used to solve large or small issues alike. The mediator is not a judge. It is a voluntary, consensual and confidential process for resolving disagreements in which an impartial third party (the mediator) helps people in dispute find a mutually acceptable resolution to avoid an irreconcilable relationship breakdown with clients, partners, stakeholders, colleagues or an employer. It focuses on 'needs and interests' (looking to the future) and not on 'rights and liabilities'.
It can also happen at any time in the 'life' of a dispute – if an agreement is not reached (about 80-90% do, on average), the parties or their managers (as applicable) are free to move on to other options, like pursuing an official HR procedure, or court/tribunal.
Mediation aims for collaborative problem solving between those in dispute, ideally reaching a 'win/win' situation which is acceptable to all. It is the parties who decide whether an agreement can be reached, and they control the nature and the terms of it. As the mediator does not impose any resolution or settlement or terms of an agreement upon the parties, there is not the inevitable 'win/lose' situation that accompanies official workplace procedures or courts/tribunals. The parties have complete control of the outcome (in conjunction with their own advisors, if present, or to the extent an employer can allow). Consequently, the parties are removed from the 'coercive' atmosphere of official or legal procedures. They are entitled to withdraw from the mediation process at any time, and are not bound by anything said or agreed until such time as they sign the agreement, written up at the end.
The mediation is held not in public but in private, and one of the fundamentals of the process is that it is private, confidential and without prejudice. Anything disclosed during the mediation is disclosed 'without prejudice' and cannot be used outside or in later proceedings should the parties fail to reach agreement. Any information shared by one party with the mediator will be treated in confidence and the mediator should not pass it on to the other party without permission to do so.
How do we mediate?
Our mediation speciality is dealing with people-based disputes where an ongoing working relationship is wanted, whoever this involves within an organisation or between outside project partners or stakeholders. Our ability to blend coaching, psychology and psychometrics into the mediation process, as necessary, is a real advantage.
Our approach is usually to try and reconcile situations wherever possible (unless the parties explicitly do not want this), and only if this proves not to be possible to move into business 'divorce' mode to try and agree an amicable parting of the ways with the associated deal to enable that.