We tried mediation and it didn't work

We hear this such a lot!

I do understand that the word "mediation" is used quite generically, but I promise if the process wasn't conducted by a professionally trained and competent mediator, then it wasn't actually mediation!

So many people (usually HR professionals or managers) attempt to get in the middle of issues to help people talk things through, which is fine - but please don't think it was mediation, unless of course that person was a professionally trained and highly competent mediator!


Getting people together to either metophorically "bang their heads together" or (more positively) help them to discuss their issues is really well meaning and has all the right intentions, but if it wasn't a fully competent mediator then I promise it very much wasn't mediation!


The vast majority of time I ask about the process followed when "mediation didn't work" it was a well-meaning person who is trying to help, but they're either completely untrained or they think they're trained!


It's an extreme example, but I always remember one of our training delegates telling us how it had taken 10 years to pluck up the courage to train as a mediator - because a decde earlier her boss had said those words "you're HR, you should be able to mediate".


She did what she thought was the right thing to do. It didn't go well...


One guy got quite stressed and flipped a table over at the other person.


It missed.

But it hit the HR professional straight in the face and broke her nose.


He lost his job.

That 'mediation' didn't work!

Within two hours of the internal mediator training programme starting she remarked "if only I knew ten years ago what I know already, my nose would be straight again and he would probably still be employed here!


This is exactly why we train internal mediators for organisations - once issues arise those employees can help people to nip issues in the bud by utilising their mediation skills.

Sometimes they will conduct an actual mediation, but often they will just use their skills without having to call it a mediation - it isn't the process that matters, it's the skills they have!


So, if you believe you've tried mediation and it failed just check out a few facts about the mediator - are they professionally trained and competent in the art of mediation? If not, then it wasn't mediation that didn't work - it was a well-meaning attempt to help people work things through.


Maybe now is the time to consider actual mediation?


For context, it is rare that professional mediation doesn't reach a resolution - at Pragmatism our success rate is over 97% so if you would like to explore how this works feel free to arrange a discussion


If you'd like to know more about the services we offer please don't hesitate to call or email us. Alternatively, complete the enquiry form opposite and we'll respond quickly.

  Pragmatism (UK) Ltd

     4 Cross Street



     NG9 2NX

  0333 987 5185



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