I was speaking at a conference recently and a question was asked of another speaker who worked for an ADR provider offering commercial mediation. The question was along the lines of “What type of mediation do you do? Are you strictly facilitative or are you determinative or are you transformative…” You get the idea.
The answer was that I am facilitative, but...I will mediate in accordance with the needs and requirements of the parties. I contest that I am skilled and experienced to mediate however required of me.
Mediator skills training as I have seen it, and I have been trained and accredited by two of the leading mediation training bodies, is like learning to drive. You may learn some new skills, though often you have them already, but with training you learn how to apply them at mediation. You then go off, if you are lucky, and mediate, and you develop your own style. In fact, you develop your own styles, as no mediation is the same and you, as mediator, may be required to be different things to different people in the same mediation.
Learning to drive doesn’t teach you how to drive on the M6 at 1.40am in snow and ice. That comes with driving, and dare I say it, life experience. It is the same for mediation – mediators can be facilitative and determinative in the same mediation. A good mediator will adapt and should all be able to do the job they are hired to do regardless of any labels.