Mediation is an effective, sensible and affordable way to resolve a dispute.  I have seen that a win/win resolution, one that is acceptable to both parties, is preferable in so many ways to an outcome that produces a winner and a loser.  The primary reason for this is that often parties in a dispute are stuck in an ongoing relationship.  A win/lose outcome just poisons the relationship further, whereas a win/win solution can begin to repair it.  How does this work?  Allow me to de-mystify mediation for you!

We set up the ground rules.  I invite you and your dispute partner to meet in my office, where you can discuss your differences in a comfortable, non-threatening setting.  I propose ground rules link to my ground rules to govern the conversation, and invite both of you to suggest rules of your own.  Ground rules keep the discussion focused, respectful and constructive.  We follow a protocol for speaking, listening, proposing solutions, and negotiation.  When you have arrived at an agreement, I write it up and you both sign it. (Parties can of course show the agreement to a lawyer before signing.)  This written and signed agreement is admissible in a court of law.

You know best.  Only you know exactly what you need and want, what you have to have and what you can let go of.  And it's exactly the same for your dispute partner!  My job is to assist you in communicating all of this with the goal of getting to a resolution between the two points of view.  To do this, I ask curious, clarifying questions.  I try to get you to speak your hearts and minds and to search for solutions “outside the box.”  Additionally, I may offer listening and communication techniques that promote respectful dialogue.

You decide.  In mediation, there is no judge or jury.  A third viewpoint is not useful, so I don't suggest solutions or hand down any decisions.  You are free to discuss what you think is important and to ask one another the questions you want answered.  We follow a time-honored protocol which allows for more open communication than would be possible in an arbitration or court procedure.  The process is structured but flexible.  You work together to identify issues, negotiate, and resolve the dispute.  

I offer neutrality and respect.  Unlike a lawyer, who advocates for one side or the other, I strive to be unbiased.  That's the essence of mediation.  It's critically important to craft a resolution that works for both of you.  And I trust both of you to use your own legitimate resources – wisdom, empathy and imagination – to generate a satisfactory resolution.

Why wait?  Conflict is normal.  It needn't be catastrophic unless it goes unchecked. When conflict partners get to talk about what really matters, the less likely disagreements are to turn ugly and spread to other parties.  That's why mediation is useful in all kinds of groupings, like workplaces, community organizations – and even families.


What if we can't get my conflict partner to the table?  Is there a Plan B?  To learn about Conflict Coaching, click here

What about multi-party disputes or groups that aren't functioning well?  To learn about Facilitation, click here

What about teaching mediation to the next generation?  To learn about my Peer Mediation Trainings for school-age kids, click here