Conflict mediation "is a conflict resolution process in which a mutually acceptable third party, who has no authority to make binding decisions for disputants, intervenes in a conflict or dispute to assist the parties to improve their relationships, enhance communications, and use effective problem-solving and negotiation procedures to reach voluntary and mutually acceptable understanding or agreement on contested issues" (Moore, 2014, p. 20). When I mediate between parties, like most mediators, I use a four-stage model. We begin with Pre-mediation in which I make initial contact with the parties (usually two but sometimes more) and separate from each other. We chat about their experiences with mediation, I outline my role and background, and we discuss how we will be proceeding once all parties are meeting in the same room. A critical part of this meeting is for each to imagine what the other has been experiencing and how he or she would react if that person were in the room with us. The next stage, Beginning Mediation, is more about the nuts and bolts of the session and any additional sessions that will be needed. We also ensure that everyone understands my authority and role and the roles of each person in the room. In Discussing Interests, we outline what each party's interests are and we agree that positions (which are adversarial) will be re-worded as interest so that all parties understand that what they need and what they want are two different things. In fairness, this balance is up to me as the emphasis is for each party to talk to the other while I facilitate and re-focus, re-state, or paraphrase (among other strategies). In the last stage, Planning Action, we work on a contract of sorts so that the parties have goals and strategies when they leave and so that each understands who is agreeing to do what. This part is meant to set a road map and is certainly not binding.
This brief video shows an example of how it could work in the workplace.
If you would like to discuss further bringing me in for mediation, please contact me to arrange for a preliminary meeting.
Moore, C. W. (2012). The mediation process: Practical strategies for resolving conflict (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.