All mediators have a different style, based on their personalities, professional background, and type of training. The style of the mediator you choose impacts both the tone and process of the mediation. I think of style in terms of the two scales below. While categories on the scales have distinct characteristics, mediators typically fall somewhere in the continuum rather than into one of the categories. I have included how I tend to operate within each of these scales.
Directive on the Process
|Less Process Directive
||Highly Process Directive|
Type of Mediation
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Approaches conflict as an opportunity for inspaniduals to change (transform) their interactions with others, if they choose. It focuses on empowerment of the inspaniduals to improve the awareness of their self worth, their ability to respond compassionately to the other, and their capacity for ownership and decision-making. In it's purest form, the actual resolution of conflicts is a secondary goal to the connection and understanding between participants. This type of approach is best for emotional healing between participants, but is not appropriate for situations when parties need to protect themselves emotionally while making complex practical decisions.
The mediator is a process guide and assists parties in reaching the best possible solutions facing them. The mediator helps articulate issues, helps parties hear one another, and encourages parties in developing mutually agreeable solutions (solutions which serve the needs, values, and goals of both inspaniduals). A win/win outcome designed by the parties is the goal, (rather than a compromise.) The focus on communication and cooperative decision-making promotes positive communication patterns and can provide a framework for working together in the future.
Each party presents his/her side of the case to a neutral mediator who assesses the relative strengths and weaknesses of their positions and the likely outcome of litigation. The mediator may make judgments about what they think should happen and influences and steers parties in that direction. The mediator may propose compromise agreements for parties, and predict what might happen if the parties fail to agree. This type of mediation is often practiced by court-connected mediation programs, wherein the mediator might make an assessment and recommendation that the court takes into consideration.
Depends on Type of Mediation
I use and am comfortable with multiple types of approach, yet will often choose a dominant approach based on the type of mediation. For example, I'm on the right of this box with a spanorce/Separation and Group/Organizational issues, I'm on the left side for Reconciliations, and I'm somewhere in the middle for other Relationship/Family issues.
Arbitration & Litigation
How Type of Mediation affects participant's experience
(based on the above continuum line)