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What is a mediator and what exactly do they do?

When conflicts arise between individuals, whether it's in a personal or work setting, finding a resolution can be a daunting task. This is where mediation can be helpful.

A mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate communication and negotiation between conflicting parties. Their role is to guide the parties towards a mutually acceptable agreement, without taking sides or imposing their own opinions. The goal of a mediator is to promote understanding, encourage cooperation, and find common ground that will lead to a peaceful resolution. 

So, what exactly does a mediator do? Well, first and foremost, they create a safe and confidential space for the parties involved to express their concerns and grievances. Through active listening and effective communication techniques, mediators help the parties to better understand each other's perspectives. They encourage open dialogue and ensure that both sides have an equal opportunity to voice their opinions. 

Parties will often arrive at mediation with very fixed positions about the other party and what action they think the other party needs to take. A good mediator will try to move the parties away from these fixed positions about the outcome and invite them to focus more on their own needs. For example, in some of West Kent Mediation’s cases involving noise disputes, a party might say to the mediator, “My neighbours just need to stop their children being so noisy.” Our mediators will explore their needs and often it will turn out that they don’t mind the children being a bit noisy at certain times of the day, but there are specific times when they need peace and quiet.

Once the issues have been identified, the mediator encourages the parties to identify and explore potential solutions. They help the parties evaluate the pros and cons of each potential solution, guiding them towards an agreement that is fair and mutually beneficial. 

Throughout the mediation process, mediators remain impartial and non-judgmental. They do not take sides or impose their own opinions on the parties. Instead, they act as a neutral facilitator, ensuring that everyone involved feels heard and respected. Mediators also help manage emotions and diffuse tense situations by promoting constructive communication and encouraging mutual understanding and empathy. 

Overall, the role of a mediator is to guide parties in conflict towards a resolution that meets their needs and interests. Mediators possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as well as a deep understanding of conflict resolution techniques. They provide a valuable service by helping individuals or organisations find common ground and avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles.

So, whether it's a disagreement with a neighbour, a family dispute or a workplace conflict, mediators, including our trained mediator volunteers, have the skills to help parties find a way forward and restore harmony.

If you’re based in the Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, or Tunbridge Wells areas, contact West Kent Mediation to find out if we can help you resolve your dispute.  You can read more about our neighbourhood, family and workplace mediation services on our website and contact us by email at or by telephone on 01732 469696.

July 7, 2023
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