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According to (Poitras, & Raines, 2013), mediation is a procedure and an efficient way to settle disagreements and disputes. It is crucial to remember that mediation aims to intercede and resolve conflicts in all circumstances without the need for a court or other legal process, through the use of a mediator or arbitrator. Therefore, the mediator must be an impartial third party with a stake in assisting the disputing parties in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. In order to resolve a variety of dispute situations, including consumer disputes, contract disputes, family disputes, and general social disputes, mediation through a mediator can intercede. (Poitras, & Raines, 2013). This paper, therefore, aims to highlight the mediation preparation steps
focusing on the thorough intake process, thorough personal preparation, identification, and preparation of the parties, identification, and preparation of the location and setting, and finally developing a schedule of the sessions suitable for the parties.
Thorough Intake Process
A thorough intake process is important for an effective mediation process where the mediator uses the case facts to determine whether the situation is worth intervening through mediation. For instance taking into consideration that the Fineman’s family situation has many legal issues that are not easy to resolve, that there are many emotional issues wrapping up the family, and that there are management issues that require significant attention, the requires a mediator to help the family and the firm come into agreements that are acceptable to all of them. The next important task that is accomplished through at the intake process is taking the initiative to inform the conflicting parties or rather the participants of the mediation process. Moreover, it is essential that the participants are given the mediation process copies to acquaint themselves at their free time. In this case, the identified participants would be the family members and the firm employees.
Thorough Personal Preparation
The personal preparation for mediation according to (Irving, & Benjamin, 2002) involves in-depth conceptualization of the issues leading to the conflict. Using the case facts, the mediator identifies the participants who are most affected and considered integral to successful outcomes. Personal preparation on another point of view requires preparation and learning to be patient and develop as well as instill and inculcate the ability to be an excellent listener. Only through listening will one be able to understand the problems. The individual preparation process should also endeavor to alienate individual attachment to any of the participants and practice the techniques of remaining neutral through the mediation process. For example, thorough individual preparation process in mediation informs by reminding the mediator that his or her duty is to mediate and help the parties reach a neutral position and not contribute by showing or premeditating what they should expect to do or agree to have. Nevertheless, the personal preparation process enables one to review how to offer guidelines and show what is required of the participants to work through in going through a successful mediation process and finally reaching into terms that are agreeable to all the participants.
Identification of the Parties and Preparing Them for the Mediation
First of all, it is taken into account that the mediation process is entirely voluntary and it is the interest of the parties to seek for a mediator through research or reference to reach the mediator. Once the parties have settled on a mediator whom they find fit and having the experience to help resolve their situation, they will brief the mediator of their problems and let him her decide to help. Upon agreeing as in the case scenario, the task is to identify all affected persons who should participate. In this case, it is imperative that Georgr Jr, Ginger, Flora, and a senior firm employee be present in the mediation process. The senior employee would represent the interests of other employees in the firm.
Subsequently, preparing the participants for mediation would involve informing them and assisting each of the parties to come up with an inclusive scope within which the mediation should be limited. The scope should include an inclusive goal that aligns all the participants to the process. For example, confirm with the participants whether they are all willing to be part of the process and if in case there could be other interested parties they would be involved. Thereafter, inform the participants through a description of how the mediation would work. Remind them of their concerns about the mediation. Help them acknowledge their concerns and appreciate them for deciding to relent on mediation which has a high probability of resolving their problems if they are all willing to participate. Above all, prepare the participants by reminding them that the mediation success is dependent on their ability to share what they feel, expect and hope to achieve without holding back any issues while maintaining respect for one another, keeping off from arguments and reproach and remaining committed to the exercise.
Identification and Preparation the Location and Setting
The location for mediation where the participants should meet is significant if the mediation process is to generate positive results. For example, the mediator is responsible for identifying and choosing a neutral location that does not belong to any of the disagreeing participants. The place of choice should be chosen to meet the interests of the participants and ensure that all of them are comfortable with the place (Beer, Stief, & Packard, 2012). A comfortable location assures the participants of their privacy and that there will be no information leakage as well as distractive sources. Similarly, the setting of the mediation process is integral if at all the mediation process has to suit all the participants and enable them to reach common agreements. For example, the setting of the location takes s into account availability of the participants in terms of time schedules. The mediator has to ensure that the meetings are set in a location where the participants are able to arrive on time, participate without interruption and does not leave or skip the appointments. The seating has to be in a peaceful atmosphere and the equipment that are used within the place made identical such as chairs and tables to symbolize neutrality (Beer, Stief, & Packard, 2012).
Developing a Schedule of the Session
The schedule development has to take into account the availability of the participants and the distance they have to travel to reach the chosen location. Developing schedule sessions furthermore should consider the participant's occupation and convenience. The mediator should not set time that meets his or her interests but should be concerned with having schedule sessions that enable the participants to concentrate and talk freely (Beer, Stief, & Packard, 2012).
Concisely, the mediation preparations steps work to ensure that the mediator explicitly works to ensure that conflicting parties reach an agreement that is acceptable to all. As such, the process’s steps function to deter the mediator from taking sides or making judgments that might interfere with the participants thinking and expectation. Hence, the steps equip the mediators with directions of developing working communication strategies that are flexible to build and result in a consensus between or among parties.
Beer, J. E., Stief, E., & Packard, C. C. (2012). The mediator's handbook. Gabriola, B.C: New Society Pub.
Irving, H. H., & Benjamin, M. (2002). Therapeutic family mediation: Helping families resolve conflict. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
Poitras, J., & Raines, S. (2013). Expert mediators: Overcoming mediation challenges in workplace, family, and community conflicts. Lanham, Md: Jason Aronson.
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