Commercial mediation is a solution-based process and there is a danger of commercial mediators ignoring the relationship issues in disputes because their focus is on getting the deal.
That fact is that behind most disputes there is a broken relationship and it is important that the mediator acknowledges this.It has taken me some time to remember this because mediations have become harder and I have gradually realised that if I spend more time with the person and less with their problem, the solutions tend to emerge more easily. Spending more time on relationships usually results in the party’s needs becoming more evident and the movement towards settlement tends to become smoother and more co-operative.
If a party feels heard, if their pain is recognised, if their emotion is valued, they are more likely to move on.
That doesn’t mean that problem solving is inappropriate, just that taking time with relationships should precede solutions.This is particularly so with irrational or unreasonable people because the temptation is to ignore, dismiss or even resist them. It is even more important to spend time exploring why the person feels so strongly and is taking such an apparently extreme position.
p56 How to Master Commercial Mediation, 2015