Mediation for Beginners – The Ultimate Guide

Mediation for Beginners – The Ultimate Guide

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Mediators are the people who can be asked to step in and help both sides solve a dispute or argument.

There are many times when mediation is required. Conflict is normal and an inevitable part of life, within the family, business or work setting. Every day, people express different values, needs, principles, prioritises and so on. This leads to disputes which, if poorly managed, can lead to family break-ups, workplace grievances and when things get really tough, court and tribunal hearings.
Mediators are the people who can be asked to step in and help both sides solve a dispute or argument. NCC Home Learning have mediation courses that can propel you into an exciting career.

What is mediation?
Mediation is an effective way of resolving a dispute between parties, without the need to go to court. It involves a third party, a mediator, who helps both sides come to an agreement.

It is a flexible process used to settle all kinds of disputes from consumer disputes to contract issues, from neighbourhood issues or problems, to family conflicts and workplace fallouts.

Conflict of any kind, whether at work or in the home, is physically and emotionally exhausting. However, a mediator is not a fancy term for referee; they do not bring two parties together, light the fuse and sit back. There is a process that is followed, with key questions that both side need answering.

Here is part of this mediating process:
What would you like to see happen? What does the resolution or the solution the problem look like for you?
These questions are asked of both parties but the mediator needs to ensure that both parties are listening and communicating with each other. People who are in conflict with another are usually surprised during the mediation process that both side actually want similar outcomes; it is that a set of circumstances and factors became involved in the process causing the end product to be lost.

What is needed to help us move forward? How do we get there?
There are no right and wrong answers. Part of the mediation process may be that both parties resolve that there is no common ground and moving forward is therefore not an option. This then means that the tangles of life need to be untangled so that people can go their separate ways. If both parties do decide to go ahead, then a path to peace and harmony needs to be decided upon.

In both cases, this can be an emotional and painful process.

Can you tell me more about…?
If you have been part of a mediation process or conflict resolution, you will notice that the mediator will not ask ‘why?’. ‘Why’ is a word that incites defensive reactions from people. Think about when you are asked why you did something – how did it make your feel? Did you feel you needed to defend your actions or your thoughts?

However, as part of the mediation process, it is important that people are able to express how they felt and thus the mediator will choose their words carefully.

Why is mediation necessary
Conflict can be long running with a high impact on people individually, as well as emotionally and physically. Productivity at work can also suffer, if this is the root cause of the conflict. As a business, holding on to skilled staff is essential but if there are issues, and people are not getting along, then output will suffer.

All too often, internal ‘mediators’ are used, people who may have an interest or qualification in psychology, counselling or human resources. But, there can be an issue with this; one of the parties may feel that because the person is internal to the company, that they are being judged. There is also the question of whether the mediator is also truly impartial.

This is why many companies and businesses employ external mediators. They have no prior knowledge of the people involved or the issue at hand. They will work through a set process. It may take one meeting, or it may take several.

Can you cut it as a mediator?
Mediation is used in all kinds of situation but there is one commonality: conflict. People in conflict are tense and there may be times when tempers become frayed and harsh words uttered. A mediator needs to stay calm and focused, unabashed by the language used or the sentiments expressed.

Mediation courses from NCC Home Learning can be studies at your own pace, in your own time and wherever you feel most at ease to do so – your lounge, the kitchen table or a paragraph or two as you wait for the train home.

Being a mediator is an interesting career choice, with plenty of scope to help people in all kinds of conflict and circumstances.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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