The mediator's role
A mediator is an impartial and neutral outside professional who helps parties who are stuck in conflict to work out their own solutions. The mediator keeps the conversation on track, sequencing the issues raised by the participants, summarising what they have heard, looking for the needs and real interests of the participants behind the complaints and bringing them out into the open.
What does a mediator do to ensure effective cooperation in a conflict?
In the mediation process the mediator does not give advice, does not take a position, but sides with both. The mediator helps the client to articulate their needs and to listen to the other party's interests and needs, and to come to an agreement on that basis. The essence of mediation is to return the case to the parties concerned, at the same time we provide tools to talk about difficult situations in a different way than before.
The mediator works to move the parties from the past to the present and the future, to talk about what the parties can do here and now to work better together. The mediator cannot guarantee that all mediations will end in agreement, but his or her role in the process is to ensure a balance of power between the parties, so that everyone can say what they need to say to resolve the situation. Mediation is not a therapy and the mediator is not a therapist, but there are cathartic moments in mediation when mutual understandings are reached between the parties, despite previous differences.
The mediator's tasks:
- working to open up communication channels
- ensures a balance of power between the parties involved
- facilitates the discussion, i.e. keeps the conversation on track and helps to move the topics along
- gives a model of good negotiating style
- helps to empower parties to develop alternative solutions
- is a representative of reality, i.e. it asks questions to help the parties to think through how they can be implemented in their lives
- problem-solving role
- conflict management role
- process management role
The mediator is bound by confidentiality in the mediation process.
The mediator's tasks are therefore complex and multifaceted. In our mediation training, participants learn all this through practical situations.