Three Critical Qualities of Effective Mediation

I want to discuss what I consider to be three critical qualities of an effective mediator based upon my experiences as a court and community mediator for NVMS.

First, a mediator must be a good listener.  Without listening, he or she never will understand the dispute and its undercurrents.  Listening also signals to the parties the mediator’s recognition that the mediation is not about him or her, but about their dispute.

Second, a mediator must like to learn.  This quality bespeaks a willingness to absorb information presented, go with the discussion’s flow, engage through probing questions, and think creatively about possible solutions.

Finally, a mediator must be patient.  Even when he or she feels confident of how the mediation will play out, he or she must resist the temptation to short-circuit the process, and let the parties reach their endgame at their chosen pace.

Listening, learning and patience – key ingredients to a successful, and I should add, fulfilling mediation practice.

What do you think?

Contributor: Ben Jacewicz, NVMS Mentor Mediator