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  • Writer's pictureAssistant Sims Purzer

3 Styles of Mediation: Evaluative, Transformative, and Facilitative


In the world of conflict resolution, mediation plays a critical role in helping parties navigate their disputes and reach a mutual agreement. Mediation is a flexible and adaptable process, with mediators employing various styles and approaches to facilitate communication and understanding between the disputing parties. This blog post will delve into the three primary mediator styles - evaluative, transformative, and facilitative - to provide insight into the different techniques and strategies employed by mediators to achieve successful outcomes. Understanding these styles can help you make an informed decision when choosing a mediator for your particular situation.


Evaluative Mediation


An evaluative mediator is characterized by their direct, no-nonsense approach to conflict resolution. These mediators prioritize efficiency and speed, working quickly to identify the core issues and develop a solution. They draw on their expertise and experience to weigh the various options and make recommendations that they believe are fair and appropriate for the situation.


Evaluative mediators are particularly useful in cases where time is of the essence, or when the dispute is likely to end up in court if not resolved through mediation. Additionally, they can be beneficial when the parties involved are seeking a neutral third party's input and recommendations to help guide their decision-making process. However, it's essential to note that an evaluative mediator's direct approach may not be suitable for all situations, particularly those involving complex emotional dynamics or deeply personal issues.

Case Example

In a divorce case involving a dispute over the division of assets and child custody, the parties decide to engage an evaluative mediator with a background in family law. The mediator listens to both parties' concerns and reviews the relevant financial documents and the best interests of the child.

The mediator then provides recommendations on an equitable distribution of assets and suggests a custody arrangement that is in the child's best interest. The mediator may also offer guidance on potential spousal and child support payments, based on legal precedents and family law statutes.

Transformative Mediation


Transformative mediators take a more holistic approach to conflict resolution, focusing on creating an environment where both parties can genuinely hear and understand one another. This style of mediation allows for the expression of emotions and supports emotional healing alongside finding a solution to the dispute.


Transformative mediators excel in situations where conflicts are rooted in deeply personal issues, such as identity or relationships. Their approach aims to empower the parties involved, fostering recognition, and understanding of each other's perspectives. This style of mediation can lead to lasting, positive change in the parties' relationships and communication styles, extending beyond the immediate resolution of the dispute.

Case Example

A couple going through a contentious divorce has trouble communicating and understanding each other's needs and desires. They decide to engage a transformative mediator to help them navigate the emotional turmoil and facilitate better communication.

The mediator focuses on empowering each party to express their needs and concerns, as well as recognizing and acknowledging the other party's perspective. Through the mediation process, the couple works together to develop a parenting plan that takes into account both of their desires and the best interests of their children. They also come to an agreement on the division of assets and support payments based on mutual understanding and cooperation.

Facilitative Mediation


Facilitative mediators occupy a middle ground between evaluative and transformative styles. They adapt their approach based on the unique dynamics and needs of the disputing parties. This style of mediation is perhaps the most familiar to many people, as it incorporates techniques from both evaluative and transformative approaches.


Using a facilitative style, mediators ask questions, normalize differing perspectives, and validate each party's viewpoint. They guide the parties through the mediation process, helping them uncover common ground and develop a mutually acceptable solution. Facilitative mediators provide a balanced approach to conflict resolution, combining the efficiency of evaluative mediation with the empathetic, understanding nature of transformative mediation.

Case Example

In a family law dispute involving grandparents seeking visitation rights with their grandchildren, the parents and grandparents decide to engage a facilitative mediator. The mediator works to create an environment where both parties can openly discuss their concerns and desires.

By asking open-ended questions and encouraging dialogue, the facilitative mediator helps the parties to explore various options and potential outcomes. Together, the parents and grandparents create a visitation schedule that meets the needs of the children and addresses the concerns of both parties. The mediator's role is to facilitate the conversation and support the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable solution, without imposing any specific recommendations.

CONCLUSION


Each mediator style - evaluative, transformative, and facilitative - offers its unique advantages and approach to conflict resolution. The most effective style for your situation will depend on the nature of the dispute, the parties involved, and the desired outcome. It's essential to consider each style's characteristics and benefits when selecting a mediator to ensure a successful and satisfying resolution.


Don't let disputes and conflicts linger unresolved, causing stress and damage to relationships. Instead, take action and explore the world of mediation, where skilled professionals can guide you towards a resolution that works for all parties involved. If you're considering mediation, take the time to research and understand the different mediator styles available to you. Reach out to a professional mediator or mediation organization to discuss your case and identify the best approach for your unique situation.


Invest in your future by embracing the power of mediation and its various styles. Resolve your disputes, heal relationships, and move forward with a newfound sense of understanding and clarity.

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