Informing Excellence | Leadership | Collaboration


  • 21 Oct 2015 3:43 PM | Anonymous

     

    This is a question that invariably stimulates lively debate. I have written on the subject before and was struck by the passionate responses from all sides.

     

    Given the importance of the issue and its implications for the way the mediation model works within organisations, I thought it would be worth opening up the debate to all those with ‘skin in the game’.

     

    My team and I conducted a non-scientific survey of our customers and contacts to see what they thought. The results were striking: 56% thought managers made good mediators, 44% thought they did not.

     

    Although certainly not a laboratory study, it highlights the fact that we are a long way from consensus on this issue. And the comments people were able to make anonymously in our survey illustrate that too.

     

    The ‘yes’ camp pointed to the unique abilities a manager could bring to the situation, “I think they understand the culture of an organisation” said one respondent. Another thought, “They should have an overall insight into the issues and have respect of both parties”.

     

    The ‘no’ camp centred on doubts over whether managers could set aside their own views and interests. “I don't feel that they are impartial” was one example. Another participant thought managers “have a vested interest in the outcome - hence it is nigh on impossible to mediate from a position of impartiality.”

     

    It seems that the manager as mediator debate is raging. So we picked up the phone and began calling people to hear their views in more detail. The responses are fascinating.

     

    Jennifer Hircock is Leadership & Staff Development Manager at City University in London and also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. She explained why, for her, the answer was a clear ‘yes’:

     

    “Managers do make good mediators because they understand the culture of an organisation and the difficulties managers can face when dealing with conflict.”

     

    But there is a more cautious endorsement of managers as mediators from others, including Sally Brett, Employment Rights Officer at the TUC.

     

    “There is definitely a place for managers conducting mediation, if a dispute is between two colleagues, for example. But it is vital that the manager involved has the appropriate level of mediation training. People skills are something that have often not been prioritised for UK managers. It is also important that people are able to go through a grievance procedure and have union representation when they think that is appropriate.”

     

    Hoda Lacey, workplace mediator and author of Powerful Win/Win Solutions, goes further. She thinks that even with the appropriate training, managers are still not the best choice,

     

    “If you are a manager in an organisation, be it big or small, you are part of the organisation. You are part of the whole thing. As they say, the last ones to notice the sea are the fish. You cannot help but hear whispers about this or whispers about that. And of course you will always have people who are friends of friends. Someone who comes in from the outside is much less likely to get hooked in by things which are happening in the organisation.”

     

    When it comes to an issue like this, you would expect the Chartered Management Institute to have plenty of confidence in its members’ abilities. And Patrick Woodman, Head of External Affairs and Research at the Institute has no hesitation.

     

    “Managers have got the ability to nip problems in the bud. They know the parties involved, they understand the situation, the personalities and the context.”

     

    But there is a qualification to Mr Woodman’s answer. He believes that without the right training, managers can potentially aggravate a situation. That is why, like so many others we spoke to, he believes training is key.

     

    “Our research shows that UK managers see dumping their partner as a less daunting task than having to tackle difficult conversations in the workplace. So without managers being given the developmental opportunities to learn mediation skills, they may be struggling.”

     

    OK, here's my point of view. I think that Patrick is absolutely right. I am a big believer in managers as mediators. I think the answer to the question of whether they are up to the job should be a resounding yes. We should be able to look to our managers to provide the people skills to deal with difficult conversations in the workplace.

     

    People management is one of the most fundamental roles for the modern manager and I believe managers are the best mediators an organisation will ever have. But I do, genuinely, understand people’s concerns. And if we don’t see managers as mediators, things have to change. And that’s not down to managers themselves so much as the organisations they work for.

     

    Workplaces are full of conflict and that’s actually not necessarily a bad thing. Conflict is a fundamental part of teamwork and can stimulation innovation, problem solving and team bonding if handled well. Those are all things any good organisation, and any good manager, would want.

     

    We need to build people management and conflict resolution skills into the core competencies of all our leaders. As long as we see these things as some kind of luxury, we risk blocking all of the benefits I've just mentioned.  

     

    Mediation is cost-effective and time-effective. It can resolve disputes that otherwise run for the long-term, sapping motivation, engagement and innovation. I make no apology for repeating myself when I say that I believe managers are absolutely the best mediators an organisation will ever have. But we have to invest in them, nurture them and support them.

     

    That is the only way they will develop the skills and confidence necessary to do the job well and convince the doubters that they really are uniquely well placed to be fantastic mediators.

     

    Please add your thoughts and experiences of managers as mediators (good or bad) in the comments section. Please remember to share this article so that others can contribute also.Thank you

     

    I'd like to thank all of the people who contributed to this article and I hope that this debate will continue to happen in organisations up and down the land.

     

    About David Liddle

     

    David is the CEO of The TCM Group and father of three beautiful kids. The latter of which ensures that his conflict resolution skills are continually polished and honed!  His greatest passion is mediation and his greatest strength is people. He has over 20 years experience of resolving some of the most complex disputes imaginable. With over 15 full time employees and with 20 expert consultants, TCM are Europe's leading provider of mediation and resolution training, consultancy and policy development


  • 04 Jun 2015 2:20 PM | Deleted user


    Mediators are all too familiar with the quote above because their very livelihood depends on miscommunication!

    In resolving disputes professional mediators need to understand, facilitate and manage the flow of communication between parties. Failure to do so often affects the effectiveness of the process and this heavily impacts the party’s ability to participate.

    Due to the confidential nature of mediation it is hard for the mediator to actually realise the impact of his or her communication techniques during the mediation. Feedback from parties may also not be clear enough to pinpoint this. Common problems often attributed with poor communication techniques in mediation include:

    -Longwinded mediation journeys which often result in impasse

    -Complaints that the mediator was not firm/ assertive enough

    -Parties tend to feel they did not have ample opportunity to participate due to the other party dominating the process

    How can mediators tune their communication skills to conflict situations? A possible solution may be to have a linguistic insight as to how human behaviour shapes conversation. By this I refer to basic principles of Conversational Analysis as identified by linguistic experts.

    Conversational Analysis(CA) studies the way in which human actions are manifested through talk/language. According to Seedhouse there are key principles which guide the way people interact through language.  In order to apply basic fundamentals in CA to conversations a mediator should:

    -Record: Mentally note issues parties seem to emphasize and address this where relevant

    -Transcribe: Instead of frequent interventions try noting down important points to refer to at appropriate intervals

    -Refrain from selecting topics to focus on, instead let the parties direct the course of their dialogue

    -Avoid assumptions use clarifying language to break down vague references and use probing questions to guide this

    -Do not pre-determine what parties may be hinting at during their dialogue or individual storytelling sessions i.e. completing sentences or offering suggestions when parties struggle to find appropriate responses

    It is natural to assume a common sense approach to interpersonal communications due to our individual backgrounds and language styles, however this can sometimes hinder our ability to truly diagnose basic communication cues.

    If you would like to learn more about how communication affects the way individuals interact and how this can be used in conflict management, The Professional Mediators’ Association is hosting a Masterclass on applying basic communication theory to your mediation practice. Click here to find out more

    References

    Sourdin,Tania, “Poor Quality Mediation- A System Failure?”(2010).Mediation. Paper 3 http://www.civiljustice.info/med/3

    Seedhouse, P. (2004). Conversation analysis methodology. Language Learning, 54, 1-54.


  • 29 May 2015 8:08 AM | Deleted user


    At certain points in an organisation’s life cycle it can get a bit rusty… Like the Tin Man in a yoga class (pictured above) the organisation finds itself inflexible, that it’s heart’s not in it and with more nimble competitors. In the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”, the Tin Man rusts up as soon as it rains. Once his joints seize he needs Dorothy to oil them, so he can move forward. Yet the Tin Man is not a lost cause. With support he finds he has a heart, follows the yellow brick road, and emerges as one of the heroes in the story.

    Read the full post on Luke's LinkedIn blog page



  • 07 May 2015 11:54 AM | Deleted user


    The World Health Organization defines Mental Health as a state of wellbeing in which individuals can realize their potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life and work productively. Conflict occurs when individuals perceive an obstacle to achieving their goals, in essence conflict stems from an unmet need, and the role of a mediator in resolving conflict is to support parties to effectively communicate their needs in order to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.

    According to figures by the Mental Health Centre, approx 1 in 6 employees are likely to be affected by a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. Judging by the growth in the use of mediation in workplace disputes there is no time like the present for mediators to fully educate themselves on mental health issues in the workplace and the ensuing implications for workplace disputes.

    Mediation starts from the premises that parties are ready to work collaboratively to reach a solution. In order to effectively utilise the mediation process parties need to be mentally robust. However what happens when the ability to clearly convey one’s needs is compromised? What can a mediator do prior to a mediation to ensure parties are mentally fit for the process?

    The mediator must capitalise on rapport building to be able to honestly assess whether parties can fully co-operate and buy-in to the process. This goes beyond “how are you feeling” in this instance the mediator is not a subject matter expert seeking a diagnosis but rather a coach eliciting mental strength from parties.

     Factors to consider include each party’s ability to follow the discussion and articulate opinions clearly. The mediator must empower the relevant party to express themselves as clearly as possible during the process.

    The problematic issues for mediators in this area are often intrinsic. Professional mediators abide by a code of ethics including confidentiality within mediations and impartiality during the process i.e. neutrality.  In disputes involving mental health conditions there may be instances where a mediator must fulfil their duty of care; likely scenarios leading to this involve suicidal threats or evidence of dependence on a substance like alcohol. However there is no generic rule for this as company policy will often set the tone in these occasions.

    In relation to impartiality human beings are inquisitive beings; we thrive on our individual perceptions of what constitutes ‘normal’. Simply put, we are driven by curiosity to explain ordinary social interactions and when we do not have an explanation for a particular behaviour we attribute our own reasons & meanings (Attribution theory). The stigma around mental health often means that individuals are unaware of the facts around common conditions.

    Mental health charity Time for Change, recently reported in a survey that:

    “Stigma and discrimination has a profound impact on the lives of people with mental health problems. The overwhelming majority of people with mental health problems report being misunderstood by ...work colleagues and health professionals”

    This increases the likelihood that in mediating cases involving parties with mental health conditions, mediators may be swayed by their own thoughts and perceptions of mental health and this can impact on their ability and willingness to accommodate parties.

    In order to overcome this, mediators must be well informed about the nature of mental health in the workplace, and the mental health conditions.

    If you would like to know more about best practice in managing conflict involving parties with mental health conditions, The PMA (Professional Mediators’ Association) will be hosting a learning event on 29th May on managing cases involving mental health conditions from a practitioner and party perspective. The event will feature guest presentations on the subject topic and facilitated group workshops on experiences in relation to managing conflicts in this field.

    More details can be found here on the PMA website


  • 23 Apr 2015 5:07 PM | Deleted user


    Office disputes can be about absolutely anything. From the most straightforward issue, such as an open window in the office which others find drafty, to a long-running, complex grievance that has lasted for years and incorporated many elements. Every conflict is different, as are the parties involved.

    As a mediator, I know that it is not my job not to understand every minute detail of a problem. My job is to create an environment in which those involved can reach a resolution - I create the conditions for dialogue. The parties do all of the hard work with a little support and guidance from me. I'm a professional mediator and an experienced diplomat. But every manager, HR professional or business leader has an inner diplomat just waiting to get out and build a few bridges.

    Here are my 5 simple steps that will help you to release your inner diplomat. 

    1. Listen actively

    Everyone wants to be heard, especially when they have a problem. So when talking to people make sure you are really actively listening to what they say. Use open questions such as “how did you feel?” or “what happened next?” and pay close attention to the answer. As the listener, summarise (play back) what you’re understanding frequently to ensure you are accurately understanding the information and so that the parties feel heard and valued. The aim here is not to establish facts to prove one thing or another but to make sure emotions and needs are identified, expressed and understood.

     2. Be empathetic

    If you do not seem to be genuinely able to see a person’s point of view, they may not feel able to open up to you. Try to put yourself in the person’s shoes and consider the impact that the situation has had on them. Those involved in a conflict will often feel very defensive and will need to trust that you can see their point of view before opening up to you. During a facilitated conversation, encourage the parties to put themselves into each others shoes. It can be enlightening!

    3. Don’t judge

    It is not your role to judge those involved or even evaluate, make assumptions or blame anyone. If people feel blamed or judged they may become guarded or defensive. Use non-blaming language and help the person to explore and describe all of their concerns.  Judging others will alienate them and cause them to act defensively. This isn't going to help your inner diplomat to do their job.

    4. Depersonalise the problem

    The more you can encourage the parties in a dispute to depersonalise the problem, the better the outcome will be. During a facilitated conversation, encourage parties to talk about their observations, feelings and needs without attacking the other person. “I felt humiliated” is more constructive than “You humiliated me” and will allow more understanding on the part of those hearing the information from the other party.

    5. Focus on interests and needs

    When you are speaking with the parties in dispute or running a facilitated conversation, ask them to explain what they need, what their goals are and what they think is a realistic and fair outcome.

    Remember it is not the diplomats role to devise a solution. The parties involved are the ones who really know what they need and want from the situation. The diplomat is there to build trust between the parties and facilitate an agreement reached by those taking part. Build on the positives and resist keeping the focus only on the negatives.

    I hope that this has given you enough insight and guidance to let your inner diplomat free. Pleaase contact me if you would like training in office diplomacy or guidance on how to manage facilitated conversations - david.liddle@thetcmgroup.com

    About David Liddle

    David's greatest passion is mediation and his greatest strength is people. He has over 20 years experience of mediating in some of the most complex disputes imaginable. He set up and runs The TCM Group. With over 15 full time employees and with 20 expert consultants, TCM are the UKs leading provider of mediation and conflict management services, training and consultancy.

    David has worked with over 4000 organisations to help them to embed a culture of resolution. He trains mediators and works with HR professionals and business leaders to create a culture and an environment which embraces mediation and promotes dialogue.


  • 23 Apr 2015 4:39 PM | Deleted user


    Soft skills have a bit of an image problem. The term has gone out of fashion in recent years. It all sounds a bit touchy-feely. A bit pink and fluffy. A bit, well, soft.

    There has been a move away from managers being encouraged to use soft skills to deal with difficult people management issues as they arise such as conflict, performance management and change. Managers often avoid dealing with a situation themselves simply because they don’t they have the competence, the courage or the confidence to deal with difficult situations personally.

    Focus on people - not just policies, processes and procedures.

    The past few decades have seen a shift towards addressing people management issues by focusing on policies, processes and procedures.  We have rather lost sight of the importance of human beings in our organisations – real people, real feelings and real needs. We’ve become reliant on policy, process and procedure. We hope that if we go through the ‘official channels’, they will spit out a happy person and a strong outcome.

    My experience of working with organisations to embed progressive management practices suggests that these policies, processes and procedures can be woefully inadequate when it comes to addressing the needs of real people.  The only true way of dealing with these needs is by talking, listening and engaging with people and having an open and frank dialogue with one another.  The absence of that is holding our organisations back and damaging the very fabric of the organisation.

    Hard to quantify

    People often say to me that they don’t invest in soft skills because they don’t know the impact they’re going to have. What kind of objective is it they are trying to meet? How do they measure a manager or a leader sitting down and having a conversation with someone on a Tuesday morning?  How do they get a hard measurable in order to be able to get resources from the Board?

    These are very real concerns and we need to get much smarter and much more effective in measuring the real impact and benefit of dialogue. Although soft skills can be challenging to quantify, they are essential ingredients for a successful business:

    ·        Active listening/communication skills.

    ·        Resolving conflicts constructively.

    ·        Empathy and self awareness - emotional intelligence.

    ·        Building and sustaining an effective team.

    ·        Influencing others and using interest based negotiating methods to secure constructive outcomes to tough problems.

    In fact these aren’t soft skills at all, they are hard skills. They are tough skills, vital skills, that every manager and leader needs in order to be able to secure better outcomes and develop the kind of teams that we need in our businesses to promote innovation and economic growth.

    Show me the money

    So let’s look at some hard figures in relation to the cost of ineffective conflict management. McDonalds recently produced a report and launched a campaign called Backing Soft Skills. The aim of the campaign is to quantify the value such skills have to the UK economy. 

    The report found that by 2020 over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by a lack of soft skills, an issue that’s forecast to affect all sectors.  At the same time, soft skills contribute £88 billion to the UK economy, with this contribution predicted to increase to £109 billion over the next five years.

    www.backingsoftskills.co.uk

    It went on to say that while 97% of UK employers believe soft skills are important to their current business practices, 75% believe there is already a soft skills gap in the UK workforce.


    A question of confidence

    With a lack of training in soft skills, managers lack the confidence, courage and competence to deal with difficult situations, or to deal with almost any people situations.  They do it using what they’ve picked up in the media, and they do it using their best judgement and instinct.  But they’re often afraid to do what they think would actually work, because they’re also fearful of doing the wrong thing. They worry that they’ll have a grievance brought against them, or have an allegation of bullying and harassment made against them.  So even common sense in our managers is held back, because the organisation’s policies and procedures impede managers taking a common sense approach. 

    Another problem is HR departments being bombarded with issues that should be dealt with at a local level, within teams.  Where HR should be addressing issues around employee engagement, wellbeing and talent, they actually end up dealing with grievances, complaints, and disagreements. This is holding back HR from delivering real value.

    Dragging soft skills into the 21st Century

    Again and again we see this reactive culture prevailing within our organisations.  We wouldn’t accept it in almost any other aspect of our business – reacting to circumstances and not being in control. But when it comes to people issues we seem to have accepted that we will just react rather than being proactive and addressing issues that we know are likely to arise.  The result for organisations is staff dissatisfaction, low retention and rising levels of litigation.

    We need to drag the concept of soft skills into the 21st century. They are at the heart of good business practice.  Whatever we think of the name, soft skills aren’t a ‘nice to have’. They’re a ‘need to have’.

    About David Liddle

    David's greatest passion is mediation and his greatest strength is people. He has over 20 years experience of mediating in some of the most complex disputes imaginable. He set up and runs The TCM Group - the UKs leading provider of mediation and conflict management services, training and consultancy.

    David has worked with over 4000 organisations to help them to embed a culture of mediation. He trains mediators and works with HR professionals and business leaders to create a culture and an environment which embraces mediation and promotes dialogue.

    David has recently launched a programme called Better Resolutions - a leadership programme aimed at preparing leaders and managers to secure better outcomes from difficult situations. Better Resolutions has already helped several companies to equip their managers and leaders to resolve disputes, manage change and drive performance.

     


  • 19 Mar 2015 9:59 AM | Deleted user


    Understand  the needs of parties

    Not every case can be mediated, and in certain cases where the conflict has escalated to a severe degree mediators must confront the brutal facts in deciding whether mediation might be appropriate for that particular scenario.
    Mediators must always place the needs of the parties first in determining this. A good way to screen the case suitability is during the first point of contact with both parties after the case has been referred. Research suggests that most mediation cases tend to be around bullying or unfair treatment claims and issues in relation to performance management.


    Design the mediation service around the consumer
    The mediation service has to be tailored to the particular client or workplace. This will be reflected in the tone or branding for the service. In a qualitative study of 25 participants, ACAS(2013) found that most parties felt isolated prior to a mediation. The confidential nature of the process limits parties from gaining the support of colleagues or managers thus it is important to consider making the scheme as user friendly as possible.Mediation is in essence a communication tool, thus to promote engagement it has to be provided in a manner which employees will be able to identify with.


    Ensure that the process is smooth and efficient
    Not all parties are fully aware of mediation prior to attending the process, most mediators send across leaflets with pre-mediation materials to provide an overview. However it is worth considering what to include in these documents, for instance in early stage conflicts not all parties are aware there is a conflict or why they have been invited to attend mediation.  A heavily detailed pre-mediation leaflet might inadvertently lure the party into preparing to defend themselves prior to what they might perceive as an attack. This might impact on the power balance for the process. Also, do not under estimate the emotional impact of mediation. For example, if parties have been absent for a long period the mediation might trigger varying emotions and meeting the other party prior to the mediation meeting might have an adverse effect.


    Invest in your mediators
    Just like everyone, mediators need to be looked after. Whether external or internal, mediators need to constantly improve and maintain their skills regularly to be able to succeed. Mediators need to remember to debrief after mediating and reflect on each case to cultivate a keen self-awareness of weaknesses and strengths.
    Co-mediation is also a great way for mediators to benchmark against other mediators to share best practice.


    Respond to feedback and evaluate the process
    It is always useful to use data to understand the delivery of your mediation services to enable members of the business to recognise its value. This can consist of research and post mediation evaluation surveys in line with an understanding of the nature of conflict within your organisation.
    Ask the harsh questions;
    Where are we now?
    Is this really working?
    How can this provide better value?
    Are parties feeling pressured into a settlement?
    For external mediators, research can help overcome objections to mediation in the early stages of the process  when dealing with managers who are sceptical about the process.



    The Professional Mediators’ Association (PMA) is dedicated towards promoting mediation within the workplace and business. If you want to know more about effectively promoting your mediation services have a look at our upcoming webinar Media Relations: marketing mediation tips for workplace mediators.



    REFERENCES
    Richard Saundry, Tony Bennett, and Gemma Wibberley. (2013) ACAS.  [online]. Available at: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/t/j/Workplace-mediation-the-participant-experience.pdf (accessed: 10 March 2015)


  • 27 Jan 2015 3:05 PM | Deleted user
    If you want to develop your mediation services, it may be useful to have an informal SWOT analysis on your status as a professional. The points below are just a few pointers on what other mediators have found useful in their professional career.
    1. Have a list of 12 contacts to improve your working relationship with:Have a list of business owners and managers you have met but have not had the opportunity to talk to in depth. This can extend to owners of mediation related blogs you follow or even contacts you met on your mediation training. Have a standing appointment to meet for coffee with these people once a month. You can even ask mutual connections on LinkedIn to introduce you as a preliminary step if they are prospective contacts. Make sure you follow up on prospective contacts and consider volunteering on mediation panels to gain more exposure
    2. Have an effective LinkedIn profile:Make a firm decision to improve your online presence and be realistic about how much time you can commit to. Update your photo; add more details about your skills and areas of expertise. It is also helpful to have a colleague recommend you for an additional profile boost.  Internal mediators can also use intranets to spread awareness of mediation schemes and promote the option of using mediation by having an internal page on mediation for example.
    3. Get re-educated and re-examine your target niche:Remember prospective customers perceive mediators to be industry experts in their field thus make sure you are up to date with current issues affecting clients in their respective businesses. It is always useful to follow upcoming areas you can extend your services to. Avoid being vague about your services for example, using "Mediation" and "Conflict management" interchangeably may confuse clients.Also, entrepreneurial videos can be a great source of motivation and creative inspiration,TED talks are a good example. Mediation training providers also tend to have an abundance of online tutorials or resources which you can bookmark.
    4. Attend social events with other mediators:In such a niche and competitive market it is vital that you network strategically. As the cliché goes; keep your friends close but your enemies closer. If you know what other professionals are offering you are in a better position to define your target niche and services. Networking can open opportunities to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects. 
    5. Increase your Social Media interaction & presence:Having a social media strategy based on your flexibility does not cause any harm, you can use apps like Socialbro & Hootsuite to find out the best time to tweet and schedule your tweets. Tailor your services to organisations on Twitter do not be ashamed to be proactive; it can be a cost effective marketing tool.  Also remember, Social media is a two way experience, the key is to have a voice and make your voice heard (although not too loudly.) Organise your ideas into a social media calendar that relates to the themes in your blog.
    6. Join an association: Organizations like Chambers of Commerce can open doors and help expand your contacts. If you volunteer for such organisations by delivering free talks on mediation and how it works you will build trust in your services. You may also gain access to influential contacts who can direct you to staff members who choose mediators for disputes.
  • 19 Jan 2015 11:29 AM | Deleted user

    According to the Guardian, today is the most depressing day of the year popularly referred to as Blue Monday.

    And, in the true spirit of mediation we decided to post a little anti ‘Blue Monday’ motivation for mediators.

     Mediators often question the sustainability of mediation and they also worry about whether consumer perspectives will change in relation to the use of mediation services.

    If you are wondering if there is any hope for your future in dispute resolution look no further. We have five reasons why you should not give up hope on a profession in mediation.

    Based on an article on the future of mediation originally published by thought leader Michael Leathes, we put together a mini pep talk for mediators:

    By 2020 mediation will be limited to qualified professionals: If you are second guessing the relevance of undergoing formal training to be a mediator think again.It is expected that formal assessments like role-plays and written examinations will soon become core requirements for “qualified mediators”. This means certification in mediation will be a key differentiator in selecting a mediator.

    Technology will change delivery in mediation: Technology has already made a huge difference to the way we bank and shop, online banking and online retail have become the norm in many aspects. There are hopes that the growing popularity of ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) will enable mediations to take place online and/or lessen the need for proximity.

    Promotion: It is also expected that mediators will be assessed through feedback from consumers instead of hearsay. This means that, similar to the rise of consumer review sites like Trip Advisor, mediators will increasingly be selected according to user feedback summaries.

    Changing demands of clients in legal disputes: The legal profession is changing and clients will expect more productive outcomes from disputes. There is hope this will lead to a growth in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and a decrease in the reliance on litigation. With this upcoming change, lawyers will be more informed and aware of other methods of conflict resolution.  And hopefully this generation of legal professionals will have more confidence in resolution through mediation.

    More support for professionals: Finally, there is an expectation that with the growth of mediation as a profession, practitioners will gain the support they need from independent professional bodies. These bodies will promote the use of mediation to prospective buyers and they will also promote awareness of best practice in mediation.

    The future is indeed a bright one for mediation and mediation professionals. If you would like to hear more about the future of mediation and the themes above be sure to attend our networking session: Mediating for the Future.


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