There’s this magical moment in some family mediations when the people in conflict stop battling each other and join forces to thwart the real enemy – the problem.
There’s a palpable energy shift when it happens and it is wonderful to witness.
It’s like the sea-breeze at the end of a scorching hot day.
A good mediator knows how to ride that moment and keep people in that space. A great mediator also knows how to lead them there.
At Keogh Mediation there are lots of techniques I use to steer people towards this glorious moment. These are a few of my favourites.
Shifting the focus
When I want someone to focus on the problem, not the person, I help them by changing the visuals. I take their eyes to a virtual whiteboard. I use diagrams and pictures to give the problem physical form. I help them see that the problem is separate from them.
Leading with Language
I choose my words very carefully during a mediation, because words have so much subtle influence. I lay the foundations for a co-operative problem-solving approach by using co-operative problem-solving language. I use “we” a lot. I “invite” people to consider possibilities. And I “share” ideas and proposals.
Giving feelings the right amount of space
The feelings that are typical during separation – sadness, anger, guilt, fear – can make it very hard to see a co-parent or former partner as a team-mate. But trying not to feel something is a big ask (and often unhelpful). One of the keys to creating a co-operative discussion space is getting the balance right with emotion. Giving feelings enough room to breathe but making sure they don’t use up all the oxygen.