What skills does a mediator need to demonstrate for competence?
It is important that you facilitate the exchange of information and effective communication between participants.
Mediators Opening Statements
Your opening statements need to comply with the standards (NMAS or FDRP) which means they need to clarify roles, explain the process and ground rules, confidentiality and exclusions to confidentiality and the legal status of any agreement reached. Then you need to do what you have said you’ll do as you facilitate the process!
Demonstrating Active Listening
In the parties opening statements you need to demonstrate active listening. That means asking clarifying questions and using mini summaries to demonstrate that you have understood the client. You should manage the flow of information and keep them focused on identifying the issues. Good active listening will help you to identify the facts and also the feelings and emotional impact of the issues.
You need to demonstrate your ability to filter through the “noise” of the clients opening statements to identify the issues in the scenario. This is to allow you to create a useful agenda for the mediation. Your agenda must be neutral and designed to increase options (not positional) and ensure that all issues are identified.
You must demonstrate that you can facilitate a fair process. The assessor will be observing how you manage any power plays by the parties such as trying to dominate the conversation or any coercive or controlling tactics. They will especially be looking at the private sessions and confidentiality. You should be reminding the parties about confidential at the start and finish, avoid the perception of bias (give each party the same time), make effective use of the private sessions and during the facilitation of the process give the parties equal opportunity to speak, be heard and present needs, interests and concerns.
In Family Dispute Resolution
Determined Asset Pool or key Parenting Issues – efficiently helped the parties to identify the asset pool or children’s issues.
Facilitated the acknowledgement of Considerations – helped the parties to articulate, recognise and acknowledge (if they are willing) the considerations that the other party would like them to take into account. (Interests based negotiation)
- Best interests of the child – reminded the parents that the best interests of the child are to have a meaningful relationship with both parents as long as it is safe to do so.
You should maintain future focus and the reality of the situation. You’ll do this by encouraging the clients to focus on future options and contingencies and to generate and assess workable options. You’ll re-direct them if they become stuck in the past.
Increased understand between parties – encouraged mutual personal understanding between the participants by assisting participants to acknowledge each other’s needs, fears and concerns and acknowledging willingness to resolve the dispute?
Consideration of options
We’re looking for the ability to facilitate a full consideration of options and not jumping on the first proposal as if it was an agreement. Assist the parties to generate and consider options and consider the long and short term consequence of their suggestions and plans.
Here we want to see that you can assisted the clients to document outcomes and agreements in their own words and with lots of reality testing. Explain the legal status of the agreement and how to make it legally binding and enforceable.