While all mediators strive to assist parties in resolving disputes, they do so in a number of ways. Mediators employ a variety of ways to produce the desired outcomes, much like doctors and counselors do. Evaluative, facilitative, and transformative mediation are the three basic mediation techniques.
The term “mediation” makes mediators uneasy across the nation, both in their own fields and in other ones. There are allegations that certain mediation strategies are not “genuine” mediation or not what clients intended. Additionally, a lot of clients and lawyers are unsure of what mediation is and is not, as well as what they will receive if they participate in mediation.
An evaluative mediator is likely to be admired for his or her straightforward manner. Evaluation-based mediators move swiftly and effectively to the point and formulate a solution. They are more inclined to weigh in on potential decisions and offer suggestions based on their knowledge. When there is little time and the issue is fairly concrete, when it appears likely that the case would otherwise go to court, or when the parties want advice from a third party, evaluative mediators are especially helpful.
A mediator who uses a transformative approach is more likely to be respected for giving all parties the time and space they need to hear and comprehend one another. Transformative mediators might make it easier for people to express their emotions during the process and assist emotional healing in addition to finding a solution. When parties are looking for acknowledgment and empowerment and the conflict is related to more deeply personal concerns, such as relationships and identities, transformative mediators are very helpful.
Facilitative mediators fall in the middle of the mediation style range. People may be most accustomed to this type of mediation. The ability of facilitative mediators to change their approach according to the shifting demands of the parties is valued. They could make use of methods from both transformative and evaluative approaches. A mediator normalizes perspectives, asks questions, and validates both parties’ points of view using a facilitative style.
Evaluative and transformative mediation appear to be the subjects of more worries than facilitative mediation. Most people tend to be in favor of facilitative mediation, however others think it is less effective or takes more time. However, evaluative mediation has come under significant fire for being forceful, top-down, oppressive, and unjust. Transformative mediation is accused for being overly idealistic, lacking in focus, and being ineffective for dealing with legal or corporate issues. Of course, evaluative and transformational mediators would disagree with these descriptions. Sam Imperati, for instance, believes that evaluative mediation can be soft or hard: it can involve presenting possibilities, playing the devil’s advocate, bringing up legal arguments or defenses, or providing judgments or advise on the results. Therefore, he thinks it is incorrect to assume that evaluative mediation will always be harsh. On the opposite side of the debate, Folger and Bush believe that transformative mediation is eventually adaptable and appropriate for all types of disagreements.
There is room in mediation practice for many styles, including facilitative, evaluative and transformative mediation. Each has its usefulness and its place in the pantheon of dispute resolution processes. Imperati believes that most mediators use a combination of these styles, depending on the case and the parties in mediation, as well as their own main approach to mediation. Some sophisticated mediators advise clients and attorneys about the style they think would be most effective for their case. Some parties and attorneys are sophisticated enough to know the difference between types of mediation and to ask mediators for a specific type in a specific case. It appears that it would be helpful for mediators at the very least, to articulate to parties and attorneys the style(s) they generally use, and the assumptions and values these styles are based on.