All mediation sessions are a voluntary settlement negotiations facilitated by a Peak Experiences associate acting as a neutral third party who has no decision-making power.
The hallmark of our mediation service is its focus on the interests (or needs) of the all parties, as opposed to their positions. Interests can be:
- substantive – needs such as money, control or resources.
- procedural – needs relating to the process or the way in which a dispute is resolved.
- psychological – needs relating to feelings or emotions about the issue.
Interests are the driving force behind every dispute. A position is only a way of meeting those interests. Our mediators work to secure effective group process to get the parties to consider interests rather than positions. By looking for these underlying interests, by utilizing the GSI (Group Style Inventory) to measure effective approached, all parties can open up positions and create new options for settlement.
Our Mediation Process
The mediator will typically guide the process through five stages:
- The Mediator meets individually with both parties to review the mediation process, respective and confidential individual core thinking styles (LSI) and the expectations for the utilization of aspects of the Group Stylus Inventory for effective mediation processes.
- Mediator’s opening group statements – The mediator reinforces the process, establishes ground rules for conduct, reviews the agreement to mediate and confirms commitment to proceed.
- Story development – Each party gives a synopsis of the facts of the dispute. The mediator then clarifies and frames the issues in terms acceptable to the parties.
- Identifying the interests – Using questions, the mediator shifts the focus from positions to underlying interests, and ultimately formulates a goal statement incorporating all of the interests identified.
- Generating options – The parties list and evaluate options for satisfying as many interests as possible, and, thereby, for reaching a settlement.
If a settlement is reached, the parties then discuss how to formalize the terms of settlement, usually either by written agreement or a consent order.
The Peak Experiences Mediator
A key step in any mediation is the selection of a mediator. As there are no universally recognized certification processes for mediators, selection must be based on each individual’s particular training, experience and references.
The mediator must be impartial. He or she must have no connection with the parties to the dispute and must not have any interest in the outcome of the case. The mediator shapes the process; the parties control the outcome.
- structures and manages the negotiation process
- establishes ground rules for conduct
- keeps lines of communication open and keeps the discussions on track
- acts as a sounding board, innovator and reality tester.
The mediator will usually assist in developing ideas for resolution but refrain from controlling this process, because the parties involved in the dispute are more capable of recognizing the essential elements of a workable, long-lasting agreement. A mediator will not usually arm-twist, or lean on one party, or suggest that a party is being unreasonable and should compromise. He or she will, however, encourage settlement and see that the merits of any proposal are tested. The mediator will also push the parties to consider the alternatives to a negotiated agreement, so they know the full consequences of walking away from a possible settlement.
Length of the Mediation
The time required to mediate a dispute varies according to the complexity of the dispute. It can take less time if the parties are well prepared-in other words, they are knowledgeable about the facts and understand their underlying interests. Mediation can take longer if the parties are highly emotional, or simply need to discuss the issues at a slower pace in order to understand them more clearly. Because of the flexibility of the process, the mediator can accommodate all of these differences and move the mediation along at a pace with which the parties can be comfortable.
Individual mediation sessions are often three or four hours long. It is not uncommon for mediations, particularly those involving complex commercial issues, to be scheduled for up to a full day or more..
Comparison Between the Court Process and Mediation
The Court Process
- content based on legal rights and remedies
- neutral third party imposes a decision
- bound by rules and procedures
- parties assert positions
- objective is to win or prevail
Peak Experiences Mediation
- negotiation based on needs and interests
- neutral third party facilitates a decision
- procedurally flexible
- parties assert interests
- objective is get what you need, and to solve a problem
For more information on any of our mediation processes, contact: Frank Gallant, 902.482.4506 or firstname.lastname@example.org