Are you hiring a mediator? When considering a potential mediator, it helps to create a mediation checklist and ask the following questions of those who have worked with him in the past.
A good mediator puts forth proposals that meets the interests of both parties. They don’t respond to irrational behavior, and they don’t make unilateral concessions in an effort to win one party over the other. Doing so will only encourage them to continue their bad behavior. After each meeting, they summarize what transpired in writing and distribute copies to everyone involved.
Mediation checklist question #2: Did the mediator develop a relationship of trust and confidence with you? (See Also: Relationship Rules and Business Negotiation)
Relationship building is key to integrative bargaining – and it begins before you ever sign an agreement. A few guidelines from Jeswald Salacuse’s The Global Negotiator: Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the 21st Century include: start forming a relationship before writing a contract, select the right people to manage the relationship, and involve negotiators in the implementation phase of the negotiated agreement.
Mediation checklist question #3: Was the mediator creative? (See Also: Expanding the Pie – Integrative versus Distributive Negotiations)
Creative option generation is part of the integrative negotiations process. As discussed above in the Tendley Contract negotiation role play, creative option generation strategies are introduced as a core aspect of negotiation strategy.
Mediation checklist question #4: Was the mediator patient yet tenacious? (See Also: Using Mediators to Resolve Disputes)
Dispute resolution and conflict management sometimes requires a third-party neutral and, in the case of a mediator, one that is both flexible yet persistent in her pursuit of a resolution to the conflict. With parties in entrenched positions, mediators have to help ease each side towards tradeoffs and concessions that can pave the way to a negotiated agreement. Because mediators cannot impose settlements, they must rely upon a joint-effort by parties at the negotiation table.
Mediation checklist question #5: Would you hire this mediator again? (See Also: Navigating the Mediation Process)
Regardless of whether the answer is yes or no, carefully consider the answers to the questions above before making your decision.
Are there any other questions that you think should be added to this list? Share your mediation checklist opinions in the comments.
Originally published in 2013.