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MEDIATION JOURNAL


Advocating mediation in bus iness


Unmasking the ‘Magic’ of Mediation A Personal Story


By Mia Forbes Pirie


People often say that they do not need mediation or facilitation: they will just negotiate. They do not see that an impartial third party has anything to add. Sometimes they are right. Party-to-party negotiation can, indeed, be the way forward. Too often, however, they are missing out - not only on saving time, money, and on finding better solutions – but also on preserving and improving their relationship with the other party and on being happier healthier people. Hard to believe perhaps – but that is the point of this article.


This is particularly important in disputes in areas such as employment, where people may have to continue to work together. For example, if there have been accusations of bullying-type behaviour at work, a good facilitator may be able to help the parties understand each other and relate to each other better, as well as amend behaviour, more informally, without having to go through a fully fledged disciplinary procedure. In the process the parties may have grown personally and feel more confident, stable and trusting of each other. This could help avoid significant morale issues, make things less awkward and open channels of communication. Alternatively, after a procedure, a facilitator could help the parties figure out how they will work together and re-integrate into the wider team with less disruption.


There are three reasons why people fail to see the value of facilitation (I will use the word to refer to both mediation and facilitation). This article explains those reasons and why involving a third party is so helpful. But let’s begin in my back yard.


My garden fence Recently,


I found myself in an ironic dispute with my


new neighbour over the cliché garden fence. (Really). As a facilitator, I thought, ‘I should be able to handle this’. But I was quite upset by the situation – as my neighbour had built a fence with gaps in it which I felt invaded my privacy, as well as hers – I could see her moving around in her living room – although she did not seem to mind.


I discussed the issue with my neighbour. She talked, and I made sure I had heard her and made it clear that I had understood her point of view. And I talked, and I did not feel like she was taking in anything I was saying (I am, of course, biased here).


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effect, which I am fairly certain did not help matters. She was set on having things her way and I was annoyed.


We arranged to meet another time to discuss the issue – and this time her mother was with her. Her mother is not a trained facilitator, but she was a little less partial than either of us – and her daughter trusted her.


From


time to time she would tell her daughter something like ‘darling, I don’t think you’re hearing her’, ‘I don’t think you’re listening’, or ‘I don’t think you understand her point’. Although, that is not something you would expect a normal facilitator to say, it seemed to work in this situation. Having her there created space in the conversation where previously there had been none and opened up her daughter’s ability to listen, trust and take in a different perspective. We found an interim solution and understood each other better.


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1414UK Mediation Journal | Issue 1 Sponsored by


Expert mediation training From a national certificate in mediation at work through to awareness raising and short courses


Mediators with over 20 years’ experience of workplace mediating


EXPERT MEDIATION TRAINING From a national certificate in mediation at work through to awareness raising and short courses


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