How To Choose A Mediator: Factors To Consider And Questions To Ask
Initially, no party agrees to choose mediation as the default conflict resolution method. However, it is regarded as one of the healthiest ways to settle disputes and end disagreements between different parties.
Like in any other field, you will need an expert mediator to help you if you want to go into mediation with anyone. The mediator needs to be neutral and always offer a helping hand no matter whom they are dealing with. All the involved parties should feel perfectly safe when sitting in front of a mediator.
However, since conflicts often involve lots of emotions and exchanging hard words, mediation is not easy, and not everyone can become an expert mediator. Choosing the right mediator is just like picking the right business number from a huge business directory.
This article will include a few factors to consider and questions to ask before you choose a mediator for any type of conflict.
Factors To Consider
1. Check The Mediator’s Background
While everyone focuses on checking the CV of their lawyer and learning more about their past cases, hardly anyone focuses on doing the same when choosing a reliable mediator.
Depending on the type of conflict you have, you should ask the mediator to provide you with relevant tips and show you a few examples of resolved disputes in the past. This will help you ensure that your mediator’s expertise matches your dispute type and that the mediator will be of use to you. You should also ask the mediator if they are actively working as an attorney and about their jurisdiction. If you choose a lawyer as your mediator, they can use their legal experience and connections to help you.
Lastly, you should always focus on choosing a mediator with direct experience working with disputes like yours. This will make the mediator a valuable asset in your legal case.
2. Learn More About Their Timeframe
To choose a reliable mediator, you should also focus on their mediation completion rate. For example, you can assess the success rate of your mediator by seeing how frequently they settle disputes after the first mediation session and how long it typically takes them to do so.
Mediators who actively follow their mediation case usually successfully resolve conflicts sooner. This also tells you a lot about the values of a mediator and how much effort they put into mediation even after the initial mediation date passes. However, remember that mediators who provide rapid follow-up services might charge you extra money to do so.
3. Get Referrals
Networking is only possible through referrals, no matter which industry you might be working in. One of the best ways to choose a reliable mediator for any type of conflict is to get word-of-mouth referrals. You can ask for referrals from friends and family members who have recently gone through mediation and had a good experience with their mediator.
By hiring a mediator who has already helped a friend or family member, they will be effective in your case as well. So, getting referrals is one of the most important parts of the mediation process.
4. Consider Flexibility
While mediators usually have a strict mediation date formula and are very punctual, it is still better that you choose a mediator who has a flexible schedule. A mediator who listens to your concerns and actively works to benefit both parties in mediation is more likely to help you in the case and might have a better chance of making a successful deal between the involved parties.
Questions To Ask
How Do You Handle New Cases?
If you have no idea about conflict resolution through mediation and are going through the process for the first time, you can ask this open and did question. You can ask the mediator how they approach new cases and what is included in the mediation process.
The mediator must provide you with a clear-cut answer and should explain both the roles of the involved parties and the mediator in your conflict. By asking this question, you can also get help from your mediator in preparing the required documentation before the mediation process starts.
Do You Offer Opinions?
Since a mediator remains neutral throughout the mediation process, they should not offer their opinions unless asked by both parties. The primary job of a mediator is to listen to both parties and help them listen to each other’s concerns to reach a middle ground.
Yes, your mediator can train you to resolve your conflicts by providing creative tips in some personal time. However, they should never offer their opinions without anyone asking for them.
What Is Your Expertise?
While a good mediator should be able to handle any type of conflict without difficulty, it is still better if you choose a mediator who is an expert in the specific area of your conflict. For example, if your legal case and the dispute are related to family law, you should hire a mediator with expertise in family law and resolving family-related disputes.
What’s Your Preferred Mediation Style?
While every mediator is neutral throughout the mediation process, almost all have their preferred mediation styles. Every mediator has their approach to different types of conflicts and possesses specific expertise.
Before you hire a mediator, ask them about their preferred mediation style. Do they focus on problem-solving? Or they’re more interested in a transformative approach?
Lastly, hiring a mediator fit for your specific type of conflict is fully up to you. However, you should consider the factors mentioned above and ask the right questions to find yourself a suitable mediator. This will help you resolve more conflicts and stay away from court hearings.