Selecting a Mediator

Before establishing criteria to select a mediator, it is necessary to define what is meant by “mediator”. The mediator contemplated by this article is a facilitator rather than a decision maker or evaluator. The mediator as facilitator allows the disputants to determine their own resolution. Self determination is the benchmark of the mediator as facilitator. This mediator is not a fact finder or fault finder. This mediator relies on the disputant to value their claims because they have a better sense of these values than the mediator ever will.

Process expertise, more than substantive expertise, is an essential club in this “mediator’s” bag.

With this said, a “mediator” should:

be, and be perceived to be, neutral and fair,

ensure equality in the process,

be known to be trustworthy, and a guardian of confidences,

be respectful and civil to the disputants,

be creative, flexible, patient and hardworking,

stimulate the flow of ideas and possible resolutions,

seek and understand the facts of the controversy,

understand the applicable law or rules,

be experienced in conflict resolution,

understand the motivations of disputants,

be a seasoned problem solver,

be persuasive, if necessary, and

listen carefully.

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