What to expect from mediation for participants. Q & A
If you have decided to take part in mediation you have taken an important step towards resolving your dispute and improving your working relationship with the other person or people involved.
You may be feeling unsure about what to expect, worried about the sessions themselves or sceptical about making any progress, if so the following information may be of use to you.
Why do people go to mediation?
The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement about how to work together in the future that all participants find reasonable and in their best interests.
What happens at a mediation session?
The mediator meets with you individually first, this is to give you the opportunity to explain the situation and discuss any particular concerns you have. This is also where an agreement is made to keep the conversations private and any necessary ground rules are discussed and agreed.
The mediator then brings you together for a joint meeting. The mediator makes sure that you each get a chance to talk about your situation or point of view without any interruption. This helps you decide what the important issues are that need to be discussed.
These issues are discussed and if you reach an agreement the mediator will write it down for you and make sure it says what you both want it to say. Everybody signs the agreement and you decide who else, if anybody, should see a copy. If you are uncomfortable with sharing the joint agreement with people who are not in the room then a decision is made about what, if anything, to share with the person or people who referred you to mediation.
What if we don’t reach an agreement?
You don’t have to reach an agreement. If you feel that mediation won’t resolve your issues, you can use other workplace approaches, policies or procedures. Whether you reach an agreement or not, the mediation process will remain confidential. Neither the mediator nor anything discussed in the meetings can be called upon or used to provide evidence at any subsequent proceedings.
Does the mediator decide who is right and who is wrong?
No. You are encouraged to talk through your differences of opinion, differing views and your different expectations. The mediator will ensure a robust, fair and impartial process to enable you to reach a good outcome that works for both of you. Mediation helps you to move forward together.
Is the meeting confidential?
Yes. The mediator will keep everything that you say during the mediation private, they will not take any notes away from the meeting with them and do not record or report back on the content of your conversations.
At the beginning of the mediation you are asked to sign a Confidentiality and Liability Agreement. This document also reminds you that the mediator cannot give legal advice and that the content of the mediation discussion is confidential, it cannot be used in any future processes or procedures that you may be involved in.
Do I have to attend?
No. Mediation is a voluntary process, if you are unsure about whether or not you will attend, please speak with the person who has referred you for mediation. If you would prefer, you can also speak with a mediator from Consilia Mediation who will be able to answer any questions you have and hopefully allay any fears.
Who else will be there?
The mediator will lead the meeting. Usually there are just two people involved, though sometimes there are several, you will know who you are meeting with. The process does not allow for legal representatives, union representatives or any other representatives to be present during the individual or joint meetings.
How should I prepare for mediation?
You do not need to bring anything with you to the mediation, you will not be asked to present evidence or explain the events that have led to mediation in detail. You will not be taking notes or recording anything during the meetings.
The best preparation you can do is to think about what you want to say to the other person, what you want them to understand about the situation and what a good result from the mediation would be for you.
Also, it can be a difficult and tiring process, so try to arrive with plenty of energy and with as few distractions as possible for the day ahead.
Where will the mediation take place?
One or two quiet, private rooms will be found, usually at your workplace, at our offices or in a convenient, neutral venue. If you have any concerns about the choice of venue you should raise this either with the person who has referred you to mediation, or the Consilia mediator at least three days prior to the mediation meeting.
How much time will it take?
You will be advised by the mediator about the process and how much time to book out of your diary. Usually, for a two-person mediation you will be asked to set aside a full day for the mediation session. Individual meetings usually start at 9.30am or 11am, the joint meeting usually start at 1pm and continues until 4pm, however, timings can be flexible on the day.
It can be a very tiring process which requires your full concentration, so it is recommended that you clear your diary for the duration of the mediation.
I’m nervous about the joint meeting.
The thought of a joint meeting with the person you are not getting along with can be worrying, however, mediation is less difficult and time-consuming than going through a formal process, and it works. It works because it helps people find practical solutions that feel fair to everyone. The mediator’s role in this joint meeting is to help you have a different kind of conversation with each other in a safe space, and to help you focus on what you need. The mediator holds both of you to the ground rules and makes sure you have equal time to speak and to listen to each other.
Mediation focuses you both on finding a collaborative way forward.
We do hope that your mediation session will prove to be as positive an experience for you.
If you have any remaining questions, please contact the person who referred you for mediation in the first instance, or Marie Walsh at Consilia Mediation by email: firstname.lastname@example.org