SDRC and Facilit8 UK offered a comprehensive 40-Hour Mediation Training from Thursday 13th August to Tuesday 19th August 2014 that was designed for beginners in mediation. Eager to be a mediator? Here are a few lessons our trainees and our team picked up from the course.
1. It depends
Probably THE catch line of the training. Ordinarily, trainings involve learning the hard and fast rules in that field but this was no ordinary training. In mediation, IT DEPENDS is the hard and fast rule. No two cases are alike and no two parties in mediation are the same. The mediator has to adjust game tactics depending on the different reactions and responses of the parties and the nature of the cases. After all, the point of mediation is not to impose a decision but to aid and guide the parties to arrive at one.
2. Listen not with the intention to reply but to understand.
One of the trainees pointed out that he learnt to distance himself from his attorney skills during case simulation sessions (which were quite a number!). In acquiring litigation skills, the apprenticeship involves thinking on your feet about the best come-back against your opponent. In mediation you have to take off that hat and listen, listen to understand the parties, listen to get a clearer picture of the issues, listen because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy in mediation. Listen, because the outcome depends.
3. It’s about learning how to be a mediator rather than learning how to do mediation.
Learning how to do mediation can very easily be learnt by reading all the excellently written great books on mediation. If your interest is rather in learning to be a mediator, to acquire the skills and demeanor of one, then this training was designed for you, pity if you missed though. Complete with case demonstrations and role plays (our favourite part of the training), this was a course open to and attended by hoteliers, bankers, lawyers, journalists, academics and people from various other walks of life who learnt to be mediators. They did not have to buy recommended texts or cram specific formulas or wreck their heads on remembering precedents. They just had to be and adopt the mediattitude (mediator attitude). It was, is and always will be about being a mediator.
4. No case is so bad that it cannot be mediated or too good that it cannot be settled.
Any commentary on this will probably just ruin it.
5. Amanda Bucklow made sure we learnt this by heart. When it starts it starts, the people who come are the right people, whatever happens was bound to happen and when it’s over it’s over. Only, you get another opportunity to be a mediator. So, see you next year at our next foundation training!