A formal mediation session is carried out in six individual phases. Each phase represents a checkpoint in the mediation process and helps executes a function or objective of mediation. The phases are:
1. Opening Statements
2. Introduction of the issues by both parties
3. Collection of information
4. Assessment of the Problem
5. Negotiation and Review of Options
Once the mediation process has begun and both parties are present, the mediator will deliver an opening statement. The opening statement allows for the participants to understand their roles in the mediation process, as well as the mediator’s responsibility and stance of neutrality. It is possible for a mediation session to begin with statements confirming details of the mediation case by mediator to both parties. The mediator will also clarify mediation regulations and guidelines, and set an allotted time for the mediation session.
Introduction of Issues by Both Parties
After the opening statements have been made and parties understand what is expected of them and the mediator, each individual will have the opportunity to present their version of the problem without interruption. This provides the mediator insight into the perspectives of both individuals.
Collection of Information
Upon hearing the both sides of the parties, the mediator will engage the participants with open-ended questions to help evoke details, facts, and relevant information that may prove helpful to resolving the issue at hand.
Assessment of the Problem
The mediator will attempt to assess the problem throughout various points of the mediation process. Eventually, the mediator will help the parties consider what problems can be resolved, what priority both parties have in resolving the problem, and what common goals the parties would like to achieve.
Negotiation and Review of Options
As soon as the relevant issues have been discusses by both parties in mediation, the mediator will commence a negotiation that will allow both parties to search for possible resolutions, which may lead to a final agreement.
When both parties in the mediation process are dedicated to achieving a suitable solution to the issue at hand, a successful mediation resolution will result. The resolution may come in the form of an agreement, a settlement, a compromise, or a similar form of conflict resolution between both parties. During this time the mediation parties will also have the option of discussing how future relations will ensue.