When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So the saying goes and this is certainly true of mediation.
Mediation is helping 1000’s of separating couples every year to reach their own agreements, avoid court and save many £1000’s.
You can be among these.
In this article, I share with you 5 key mediation requirements to help your prepare for a successful mediation.
Before you decide whether to go ahead with mediation you AND your former partner must be very clear about what this process will require of you both, IF you want to be successful.
Only by understanding what the mediation process requires of you will you be able to properly prepare yourselves for the mental and practical challenges ahead.
The mediation process is certainly not for those who want to use the process to get their own way. This is simply preparing to fail.
To succeed you MUST BOTH fully understand and be committed to meeting the requirements and demands of the mediation process.
So, what are they?
First, you need to be very clear about WHY you want to mediate rather than use any other process.
It is true that the mediation process provides a fantastic opportunity for you and your former partner to make decisions and reach agreements TOGETHER with a mediator’s help and support.
However, it is rarely the prospect of working together in mediation that appeals to people so, what is it that appeals to you about mediation and why?
You need be very clear about these things? These will propel you forward, overcoming the challenges in mediation as they arise.
Is it the prospect of keeping your costs to a minimum or perhaps, the chance to keep control over the timeframe and prevent things getting out of control?
It might be the opportunity of creating an outcome that is bespoke and not necessarily something you would both get from the court.
Maybe it is the fact that mediation is private and confidential.
Whatever your reasons, you must be clear about these and why they are important to you. You will need to share these reasons and aspirations with each other in mediation, for reasons I will explain.
Obviously, it is important that you need to both be clear what it is you both want out of mediation and why but this is not a topic for this article.
Second, you must take on board the fact that mediation is a reciprocal process.
This means that at various stages in mediation, to keep making progress and ultimately reach agreement, you will need to give each other some of the things you each hold dear, the things of most importance to you both, in order to reach an agreement that feels fair enough to both of you.
To do this, you will of course have to take the time and effort to discover what these things are.
Third, to discover these things, the things you each hold dear, the things of most importance to both of you, you will need to explore a range of ideas, different perspectives and options, many of which may not have occurred to you to start with and to do this with an open, honest and curious mindset and approach. To the key to this is being able to carefully listen in order to understand what these are (see 4 below)
If are both able and willing to do this, solutions will naturally evolve and you will be successful.
However, it often boils down to the fourth and fifth requirements.
The fourth requirement is the need to be able to communicate well enough so that you are both able and willing to explore different perspectives, ideas and options with an open, honest and curious mindset.
This communication will of course be facilitated by the mediator but will rely on you both being able to listen carefully and curiously to each other in order to understand each other, what you each want and need and what you may both be worried about for the future.
The best form of defence is …. no, not attack, but understanding, understanding what you and your former partner wants and needs, what you are both most concerned and how you both feel about certain matters so that you can both decide how to respond appropriately.
Only by listening can you be seriously be asked to be listened to.
The need to exercise self-restraint is the fifth and often the most challenging requirement of mediation.
My experience is that if your partner can see that you are doing your best to listen to them and restrain yourself from reacting to things you are clearly finding challenging to listen to, they are far more likely to make an effort to restrain themselves and listen to you.
Mediation can be a tough process, but MUST feel worth it to both of you. You must be very clear about your WHY. Why make the effort required to do the things I have write about in this article. Your WHY provides you with the motivation, the resilience to ‘tough it out’ and find solutions that work for everyone.
Build your ‘ resilience’, your toughness that is going to get you through mediation, overcoming the challenges, to join the 1000s of others reaching their own agreements in mediation, avoiding court and saving £1000s.
Prepare well and remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
You can do it !