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Sometimes Resolution Comes After a Mediation

July 19, 2016  | 
Sometimes Resolution Comes After a Mediation by Clare Piro

{3:24 minutes to read} As with most people, there are some challenges that I welcome, and some that I dread. This goes for mediation as well.

A challenging mediation isn’t necessarily challenging because one or both clients are difficult; for me, it’s often because the clients are so diametrically opposed that, no matter how many techniques and skills I use to help them resolve difficult situations, nothing seems to help. I’m talking about extreme situations where even my indefatigable optimism that conflict can be resolved is challenged.

So, there I am, dreading the next meeting and preparing for the worst. Before my clients arrive, I review my notes and think about skills I’ve learned over the years and how I can address what I’m sure will be the same unresolved conflict.

Then, something surprising and wonderful happens. The clients come in relaxed and calm and tell me that they have reached an agreement on their own. What had seemed to be an insurmountable conflict has been resolved. By them. Outside of a meeting.

The last time this happened, I tried to figure out why. What happened after they left that could not have happened in our meeting? Is there something that happened in the meeting that helped them to talk on their own?

I think there are a number of factors at work.

Motivation

When parties are stuck, before they leave, I try to frame for them a few options generated in the meeting for them to consider. I always make one of the options ending the mediation and going to court. Since most of my clients come to mediation precisely because they do not want to go to court, I think that the option of compromise or court is a motivating factor for reaching an agreement on their own.

Opportunity to be Heard

Even if it takes a little while to fully recognize the benefit of this, being heard and hearing the other person’s interests, reasoning and needs does serve to help the parties come to a resolution that takes those interests into consideration.

Supportive Environment

I know when I’m in conflict with someone, the one-on-one debate isn’t always the most productive. The benefit of trying to reach a resolution in a forum in which each party is supported by the mediator, who is not judging them and is not assessing fault, works wonders.

These factors may not always work their magic in a meeting, and they certainly don’t work all the time in every mediation, but I do think that later discussions between the parties can go forward in a more positive manner, even if a mediation meeting leaves much unresolved.

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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Comments
Rick B
July 23, 2016 - 6:17 PM
Great post-I believe that many good decisions are arrived at post-mediation, as the parties have a chance to digest and reflect on what may have transpired.

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