Hiring A Mediator in Medicine Hat
Do You Need A Mediator?
If you have you have reached the point where you are wondering “do I need to hire a mediator?” then you have probably hit the point where you do!
When faced with a serious, or potentially serious conflict, people quite naturally first think of using the legal system. Hiring a lawyer may seem like a logical thing to do. That thought is not necessarily wrong; a lawyer may well be needed. But, the legal system in not the only option for conflict resolution. My point is, there are other options available to help: a mediator may be that option.
Trained mediators will have developed skill set specific to helping people resolve their conflicts themselves. Conflicts can be large or small; between neighbours, landlords and tenants, contractors and clients or even between family members. Conflict can take many different shapes and complexity. If you are in a place of conflict, and are not sure if the legal system is appropriate; a mediator may be a reasonable option.
It is important to be clear. Lawyers and mediators are not polar opposites. Frankly, lawyers and mediators often “pull together in the same direction”, to help resolve a conflict. A mediator’s skill set is to help clients resolve their own conflict, with resolution(s) that suit their own particular situation. This can give clients a great deal of empowerment.
In my years of experience providing mediation services in Medicine Hat, I have learned that often people put off getting professional assistance from a mediator until the situation gets too heated. Resulting with people entering into lengthy, as well as costly, legal proceedings. Like the old saying: Smaller problems are easy to solve, big problems are not.
I’m not saying that mediation will solve every conflict all of the time; it won’t. But what mediation can do, is to bring people in conflict together, into a structure process that is focused on positive, productive and helpful conversation in order to help people come to their own resolution and agreement.
This isn’t just something that I seen in divorce mediation and family mediation. It actually fairly common across the map. I have seen business relationships break down and require mediation as well, in fact helping business operators navigate difficult situations is becoming a larger part of what I do.
In any situation where the stakes are high and the involved parties have differing points of view there is always potential for conflict. My mediation skills are designed to deal with this. Helping people clarify “emotional” factors that affect their point of view. I have yet to have a mediation where I have not spent time with clients to help them clarify and calm their emotions. Let’s face it; emotions are consistently part of any conflict. They need to be addressed.
That said, there are a few things that people need to know when hiring a Mediator in Medicine Hat (or anywhere really…) – I am going to go through them point by point so you can fully understand when professional mediation is needed and how it could potentially benefit the involved parties.
First of All, What is mediation?
Mediation itself can come in various forms. Typically, the mediation process is done in four phases.
Phase one: An agenda is set, issues of concern (there is often more than one concern) are clearly identified and agree upon. I work hard in this stage to establish a climate of calmness, purposefulness and helping. Establishing this level of trust is important before moving on to next phase.
Phase two: Issues and concerns are explored, through effective listening and questioning on the part of the mediator, each party brings out “their story”, while the other party listens. This section can be very powerful and effective, as often, clients just want the chance to tell what is truly of importance to them – I call it giving the client a chance to “tell their story”. Throughout this phase, I am careful to establish some level of trust between clients. This can be difficult as often trust between clients is very low. Clients can speak honestly to each other, only when they feel that they are truly being listened to: trust.
Phase three: Create options for resolution. This is the creative stage. I encourage clients to “think outside the box”, to be creative. At this point, no suggestion is discounted: it’s an option, it may have potential for agreement. This is where the mediation process is completely different from the legal process. Clients create their own, mutually negotiated, mutually satisfactory agreement. The agreement is theirs: they own it.
Phase four: Fine tuning the agreement. Looking at it critically. Coming up with “what if’s” and responses, then finalizing the agreement into written form
Why Use A Mediator?
Why use a mediator: because they are in the profession of helping resolve conflicts. Mediators possess skill specific to resolving conflicts, just like other professions and professionals. As a professional mediator, I have two goals for every conflict: to help clients reach an effective agreement and to help client create a plan to move forward from the conflict.
Do you, or someone you know, are in a conflict, where the communication has stopped; perhaps mediation is a viable option. A skilled mediator can establish a process where the conversation can re-start; where the clients can re-focus on solutions rather than accusations.
Of course, simply having a mediator present isn’t enough to end the conflict altogether. The mediation process is about coming up with actionable steps to resolve the dispute amicably. Both parties have to want to compromise and proceed. A good mediator advocates this and helps to lay out a road map to make this process happen.