What is mediation? A good question, and one which a significant proportion of the people who ring Hampshire Mediation have some misconceptions about. Some people approach us asking us to intercede on their behalf with someone, to secure the payment of an outstanding debt, or to force someone to carry out some action or other. That is not what mediation is about, but at Hampshire Mediation we are always delighted to chat through what mediation is and, just as importantly, what it is not.
Mediation is a collaborative and cooperative process wherein the parties to a dispute – be it civil mediation, commercial mediation, neighbourhood disputes, family mediation or workplace issues – come together either alone or with an adviser or friend, to discuss the issue which is causing them difficulty. Through a process of principled negotiation work together with the aim and intention of finding and agreeing on a solution with which each participant can be satisfied. It avoids the time, expense and stress of going to court, and delivers equitable outcomes that also assist in maintaining long term relationships.
The mediation process itself is facilitated by a Mediator – a trained professional who specialises in assisting parties who have seemingly irreconcilable differences to analyse their own positions, identify what is important, and cooperate in reaching a solution to their dispute. The Mediator will make sure that all participants in the mediation session have the opportunity to speak, to articulate their views, and to listen to what the other participant has to say. Mediation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
The Mediator is entirely neutral in the dispute. He or she will not adopt one side’s point of view or advance their argument, and neither will he or she seek to impose the will of one party on the other. The Mediator is not a judge – he or she is not going to decide who is right and who is wrong. Rather, the Mediator will help the participants to move beyond what has happened in the past and focus their attention on what is important, and to work together in problem solving, option development and agreement building.
Mediation is a joint process. One party will probably come up with the idea of mediation, and it may be that party who initially contacts Hampshire Mediation, but the Mediator is neutral – he or she is not the Mediator of the party who first contacted us and indeed unless both parties are happy with the choice of Mediator then no mediation session is possible.