Do you consider yourself a “fixer,” or a problem solver? If so, then often comes the desire to always find a solution. When simply solution-oriented, we may have a tendency to forget some key components within the communication process. Some of these steps are necessary for ACCORD’s mediation clients, particularly on their path to dispute resolution. We at ACCORD have found it is imperative to identify the topics, listen to others, and validate participant’s emotions.
ACCORD’s mediators are trained to go beyond solution-oriented listening. Our mediators help individuals identify the various levels of their current dispute, listen with an open heart and mind, and validate the strong feelings associated with the client’s conflict. Our mediators tackle a wide variety of topics, including disputes within a family unit, small claims or community matters, an impending divorce, and more. ACCORD’s mediators know that “it is not always about the nail,” but rather, allowing participants to be heard and their feelings to be validated that allows for the most successful mediation sessions.
According to the New York State Unified Court System standards and ACCORD’s best practices, an imperative part of the mediation process is to allow our participants an opportunity to discover their own solutions on their path of self-determination. At times, it may be easier for mediators to identify a fix and guide a session towards that solution, bypassing the oftentimes emotionally charged pieces of the conversations. To do so may ultimately impede party self-determination and may rob clients of the validation the mediation process produces.
With that being said, we should all take this funny little clip to remind ourselves of the importance of allowing parties the time to fully process the emotions surrounding their conflict. While mediators are not direct service providers or therapists, giving deference to our participants to process their disputes, receive reflections that validate the emotions and needs they express, and allowing them to mitigate the disputes on their own terms using our mediator’s highly developed skill sets, allows for the greatest opportunity for them to feel heard and understood.
Kindly view our transformative toolkit for a list of resources we have been equipped with in our basic training and continuing education sessions. ACCORD appreciates any feedback regarding how we may work together to foster the best environment and fully support our mediators in order to provide the highest quality mediation sessions possible. We thank you for your continued efforts to provide a more peaceful community!
One thought on “It’s Not About the Nail”
Thank you for reminding us mediators that we are not “solution finders.” Rather, we need to concentrate on the needs and values of the client — investing the time for parties to fully process their emotions — by validating and empathizing, using tools like reflection.
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