So many people think of mediation and automatically think about resolution. Will I get resolution from this process or not?
The problem with this kind of thinking is that mediation is not really about resolution – it is about problem solving. Mediation is a process of trying on new ideas, experimenting with options, reality-testing your thinking and ultimately choosing what is going to work best for your life within the framework of what the law offers. Yup, that is a mouthful but sorry, mediation is not this magic pill that solves a conflict the way you see it. Nothing out there does that – not even the judge.
With mediation, you invest your money in a process that holds you accountable to thinking through your problem. You will be challenged and you will have to listen…really listen…because a mediator like me will be asking hard questions and throwing out scenarios that test you and will reveal true motives and interests. The process takes work but it is worth it because you come out knowing you made an agreement that makes sense for all of you and will actually work. Whether you have an attorney present is up to you but if you let your attorney do all your work for you then you really are not vested in the process. You have to be the decision maker.
True mediation is run by the parties. The mediator is the guide clarifying and reflecting back parties’ statements, exploring options and helping the parties understand the law as it is. The parties then engage with one another, with mediator assistance, to move through the conflict and to problem solve. Like any good mediator, I don’t have all the answers. But I do know how to engage people by asking the right questions that will help them find their own best answers.