Visioning and Coaching Techniques in Mediation - Chapter 41 - AAA Handbook on Mediation - Third Edition
Bruce A. Blitman is a Mediator and an Attorney with a solo practice in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court to serve as a mediator in cases referred by the Florida county, circuit civil and family courts. A mediator since 1989, Mr. Blitman is a Diplomate Member of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators and is a past President of The Academy. He can be reached at (954) 437-3446, or via e-mail at BABmediate@aol.com.
Jeanne Maes is Professor of Management at the Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama, and serves as the University’s Ombudsperson. An experienced facilitator, consultant and executive trainer, Dr. Maes specializes in communication, conflict management, partnering, and leadership. She is a Member of the Academy of Management and the International Society for Organization Development and Change. She has also served as a Volunteer Mediator for district court in Baldwin County, AL. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VISIONING AND COACHING TECHNIQUES IN MEDIATION
Bruce A. Blitman and Jeanne Maes
The goal of mediation is to help the parties reach a mutually agreeable outcome. There are many techniques that mediators use to assist the parties in attaining this goal. Central among them is helping the parties reframe their interests and needs in a way that will help them see what they have in common and what they might like from each other. Some mediators take a “problem-solving approach” to this task, while others use “visioning.” Problem-solving requires the parties to define their problems and then try to determine possible solutions. However, a problem-solving approach can take longer to get off the ground. As researchers at the World Resources Institute have pointed out, with this approach, parties “can become mired in technical details and political problems and may even disagree on how to define the problem.” Furthermore, people generally want to distance themselves from problems, so a problem-solving approach may not help them create any real fundamental change.