What is your style?

I was recently asked to describe my style as a mediator. I found myself reading up about what Riskin has to say about mediator style and wondering whether I am facilitative or evaluative, broadly or narrowly??

I can confidently say that I am facilitative, but whether I am broadly or narrowly facilitative will depend on the circumstances of the case.  

I aim to assist parties define, understand and resolve the problems that they wish to address by focusing on underlying interests rather than legal positions and issues. I encourage parties to explore the personal interests and perceptions in their dispute, not just the commercial and legal dimensions. I will generally not express a view on the strengths or weaknesses of a party’s case, or give a view on the options for settlement; rather I will encourage the representatives to do this. I find it helpful to have lawyers and other representatives present in mediation.

 I like to work with parties in joint session for as long as possible because I find that this creates an opportunity for parties to hear directly from one another about what is important to them. In my experience mediators can achieve a lot through careful, flexible management of process, so I take a great deal of care when setting up mediations and talking to parties before the mediation day; I work flexibly on the day; and I always follow up with parties after mediations to hear how things are working for them.

Feedback that I have had from parties indicates that they feel supported by me through the process. My neutrality and impartiality has never been questioned. Parties comment that I establish good rapport with them and that they feel they can be open, show emotions and reveal fears and concerns. I belive that I am able to do this in mediations where I am working with a more narrowly facilitative style , the typical employment and commercial mediation, as well as in mediations where I work with a broader definition of the problem, the typical workplace or interpersonal type mediation.

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