From exploration to solutions

Listening and aksing questions

The mediation process starts with illuminating the conflict from the perspective of both parties. Listening and asking questions where necessary to better understand each other's position, is a key part of this. Parties do not have to agree on everything and sometimes ‘they agree to disagree’. Gradually, mutual trust increases and insight into each other's underlying interests, intentions and preferences grows. It forms the basis the future of both parties and, as such, also determines the way in which they want to continue or end their relationship and cooperation.

Joint agenda

After exploring the conflict, the parties, together with the mediator, identify the most important parts of the conflict they need to work on and resolve. They thereby determine what really matters and assess shared, compatible and conflicting interests. Together these elements form the negotiating agenda on which nothing that is needed to resolve the conflict in a sustainable way can be missing.

Work together on solutions

With the negotiating agenda as a guideline, the parties will then work together to consider all aspects of the conflict and underlying issues. They decide themselves in which order they do so. The mediator guides the solution process and uses the Harvard negotiating model. With an open mind, the parties first generate ideas and options for the items on the agenda. They then select and combine these on the basis of joint and objective criteria (such as appraisals, legal regulations and market rules) into solutions that match their mutual interests. Where appropriate, the mediator can contribute ideas or the parties can invite external advisers. Ultimately, it is always up to the parties to make choices and agreements together.

Information about mediation & approach

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