Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why We Do This Work

I had two recent mediations that touched on the intangibles of being a mediator. In the first, after several hours of discussion both together and in private sessions, it became clear to all that a settlement was not possible. While meeting with the claimant and lawyer, the claimant said "I really appreciate what you've done today." I of course said "thank you" and then asked if they would say a bit more about what they appreciated.

The response was "you are really listening to me, I feel heard." Even though the case was not headed toward settlement the claimant felt good about the mediation process and my work in that role. We had connected and they felt heard. Now we talk a lot as mediators about listening and here it was, right in front of me.

In a second mediation, I was in a private meeting with the claimant and counsel when I reported that the other party had agreed to their proposal. They had settled their claim. The claimant was happy, got up and gave me and her lawyer a hug. She physically looked like a large weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

So, in one week, I was really listening and got a hug. This is part of why I do work as a mediator. How about you, why are you a mediator?