A mediator is an independent and impartial person who acts as a facilitator to help parties to resolve a dispute. They do this by using a combination of negotiation, problem-solving and communication to enable the participants to identify and acknowledge the core issues that are in dispute so that they can take ownership and resolve them.
A mediator is not there to judge, or to say that one person is right and the other is wrong, or to tell those involved in the mediation what they should do. Mediators are completely independent and so can be trusted by both parties. A mediator does not have a stake in either the dispute or the outcome. They are in charge of the process, not the outcome.
An effective mediator:
- Creates an environment conducive to mediation;
- Develops a good relationship with each individual participant;
- Is quick to identify the issues in dispute;
- Listens actively to the parties checking that [s]he has a proper; understanding of what has been said and probing for more information where necessary;
- Is neutral and non-judgmental;
- Manages the process and provides structure;
- Facilitates the parties in creating workable solutions.