If you are reading this article, you must probably already have an idea of what mediation is. But I’m here to speak to you about one of the internal processes of this practice: Feedback. To the user of mediation, the feedback is usually composed of a couple of questions about the organisation and his experience of the process. They are more important than they seem. Mediation is an evolving and adaptive technique and practice. Mediators are not lawyers or advisors, they are facilitators. Their objective is to help the parties communicate in order to come to an agreement that will help them both go beyond their disputes and put an end to a problematic situation. Thus, their techniques, their personal way of practicing mediation must always adapt to the needs of the individual in front of them, and to the infinite possibility of situation they may face.
This is where the feedback plays its role. For the mediator, it is the way he knows if his practice is efficient, according to the impression of the parties. It is also an opportunity to observe if his own vision of the mediation is the same as that of the parties. If not, it means he need to adapt his skills and rethink his methodology to ensure his practice is always the best possible to guarantee the efficiency of the mediation.
Not only is feedback interesting for the mediator, but it is also very important for mediation itself, and for CEDR, which is constantly working to promote, develop and provide these services. As mediation is a process which belongs to the parties, and is organised and structured according to their particular needs, it must be adaptable to provide the best service possible. In order to do so, again feedback is one of our most useful tools. It is here gathered through the parties’ commentaries of course, but also through the experience of our mediators, partners and members. Thanks to this immense network of professionals from all sectors, we have already produced model procedures, mediation and settlement agreements, various contract clauses, etc. But just as mediation is an evolving process, this work is also in constant adaptation. It is for us the best way to always provide, no matter the situation, the quickest and most efficient solution to any enquiry, whether it is to help finalising a commercial contract with an ADR clause taking in account the new necessities of the market, or to offer a service of mediation that will correspond best to the dispute.
Don’t forget, mediation is a tool made for you, tailored for each, and only you can help us improve it. A constructive feedback is never lost. It is always a new brick to the construction of this practice and could in the future make the difference between a difficult and complex negotiation, and an efficient dispute resolution.
By Joachim Müller