Modern Mediation theory talks about shifting from “positions to interests” and from that new understanding generating options for the resolution of the conflict. The parties are then supported to test those options against how well they meet both parties’ interests. A skilled mediator starts by facilitating a dialogue amongst the parties about what happened and what they made it mean, rather than a debate about right and wrong. Based on this shared understanding, the mediator exercises his or her experience and judgment about the right time and right approach to reality testing and evaluation.
The goal is not to convince or persuade but to listen, learn, inform and educate. It sets the stage for effective evaluation.
It has been my experience that when people can genuinely feel the other party has heard and understood them and their concerns, even if they still fundamentally see the situation differently a co – created resolution becomes much more likely. When this is done well the parties tend to engage more fully in, and feel empowered by, the process.
About David Gould
David Gould (LLB, QC, C Med)
In over 30 years as a mediator I helped people and organisations resolve hundreds of conflicts. Most of this work involved my intervention in the late stages of the conflict. While it’s always better late than never, a prolonged resolution still left lives consumed by stress, relationships shattered, fortunes wasted in legal fees and most importantly a loss of confidence in the future.
I’ve decided to come out of retirement to fulfill this newfound perspective, shifting my focus from late stage intervention toward empowering my clients to get ahead and stay ahead of conflict.
Conflict is everywhere and inevitable. How well we manage it has a tremendous impact on our success and satisfaction in life.