Choosing a Mediator

Things to consider before choosing.

1. What do you want from mediation?
Consider your intention for the mediation. When I use intention I am referring to needs as used in Nonviolent Communication.

Look over the list and choose which needs you would like met. I recommend writing them down. When you write them don't include any additional information such as other people. Here are sample lists for a couple going through a divorce.

Spouse "A"   Spouse "B"
1. acceptance   1. support
2. appreciation   2. communication
3. respect   3. respect
4. equality   4. ease
5. choice   5. independence
  6. safety

Were you able to identify your needs? If you are and the other party is also able to identify needs you are ready to decide which type of mediator you prefer. If you like working from knowing your needs and want both sides to get their needs met you are looking for facilitative or transformational mediation. If you are stuck on say, "I get full custody of the kids and my spouse needs to pay child support." You are most likely looking for a directive mediator, someone who tells you how to solve your problems, what is right or wrong. Similar to what will happen in arbitration or court. If you want a directive mediator you would most likely want a subject matter expert.

If you are able to identify your needs and guess at the other parties needs you are a good candidate for mediation using Nonviolent Communication or similar processes. The benefits of going this route include:

  • Choosing your solutions (with other party)
  • Learning how to communicate to resolve conflicts
  • Feeling good about the outcome
  • Agreements are much more likely to be kept

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