One of the occupations you can do after taking degree in Peace Studies is becoming a mediator. On today`s workshop we could have learned from an experienced mediator what this job is about and what it takes to be a good mediator. We all know by now as the second workshop about mediation took place, that Claudia has it all that it takes to be one hell of a fierce mediator in the city that needs it the most- New York! And I know I would make a terrible mediator.

The main point that Claudia started with is to admit the conflict is a natural thing. However, how to settle a conflict is not such a common knowledge:

  • Litigation (has many cons as: it might be expensive, long, sometimes an outcome won`t be determined and there is no space for relationship recovery).

Therefore it is good to have Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as:

  • Arbitration
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation: different types:
  1. Evaluative
  2. Facilitative (more hands off, the type we discussed on the workshop, half way between the other two types)
  3. Transformative
  • Facilitation (even more unstructured)

In the very beginning of the workshop Claudia warned us that as a mediator we shouldn’t give advices to parties, but then she gave whole lot of advices herself, such as:

  • Parties will mirror their reaction and mirror reactions of mediator, even her attitude and body language

So you need to:

  • Grow awareness of yourself in the mediation ( this part can be even more important than the whole process as it can significantly influence the overall atmosphere\chemistry of mediation).

Remember about these little things that can trigger conflict:

(Things we have personal reactions to, things that are hard for us to listen to)

  • words, verbal expressions
  • social expressions
  • facial expressions
  • physical traits
  • attitudes

And just so you know this is all in your head: (mind your attitude!) and avoid:

1.Assumptions:

(Something that is accepted as true or certain, without proof).

2.Curiosity

(The desire to know, the inquisitive interest in others` concerns)

  1. Judgments

(The process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing)

Bring your Focus to the table! Don’t bring your own drama, problems, bad mood. You need to be focused and fully concerned on what is happening between the parties. Stay sharp!

Keep in mind the mediation ethics:

  • Consent
  • Impartiality\inclusivity
  • Confidentiality
  • Self-determination
  • Neutrality\ conflict of interest
  • Competence\preparation
  • Safety
  • Quality of the process

If you want to know more about mediation ethics check out these:

  1. Standards of Conduct for New York State mediators
  2. European Code of Conduct for Mediators
  3. UN guidance for Effective Mediation

What else I learned from Claudia today?

Mediation is voluntarily! As a mediator you shouldn’t be giving advice. You are not a lawyer or psychologist. Mediation is  a little bit between counsellor and legal adviser.

There are official terms used in the process of mediation, like defendant, offender, complaining witness, complainant, plantiff – but remember to never use these terms during mediating, use names.

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