1. Introduction and Intake.
This is where the mediator will sit down separately with each party to discuss the mediation process, identify the issues that the party desires to resolve in mediation, identify any information or “discovery” that may need to take place in order for the party to be able to resolve those issues, and identify any third parties that might be helpful in the settlement process. This will normally take place before the scheduled “mediation date”.
2. Storytelling Stage.
This can take place either during the initial intake meetings or in a group setting at the start of the first mediation session, and sometimes in both settings. This time allows each party an uninterrupted chance to tell the “story” of how they got to the place they are now, their main concerns about the conflict and possible settlement options and what they want to accomplish through mediation.
3. Questioning Stage.
This stage of mediation allows each party to ask questions of the other parties. This process is important in allowing each party to have all of the information that they need in order to make reasonable decisions as they try to resolve their disagreements.
4. Issue Identification Stage.
This stage allows the mediator to summarize the various issues that the parties identified in their intake sessions, during their storytelling and during the questioning process. The parties must then work together to agree on what issues they will try to resolve during the mediation session.
5. Problem-Solving Stage.
This is the part of mediation that most people think of when they envision the mediation process. It is only after the parties have been able to share their “stories”, get answers to important questions, and agree on the conflicts they want to resolve, that they can then begin to work toward settlement. The goal of the problem-solving stage is to find the best solutions for all parties.