I am passionate about the benefits of mediation ever since I trained as a mediator back in 2013.
Before that, like most people, I really didn’t understand what mediation was and definitely nothing about picking a NMAS Accredited Mediator.
I think the reason for that is that facilitating mediation is such a unique role and the term is used so widely and incorrectly in many cases.
If you read the NMAS you’ll see that one of the key distinctions for a mediator is that they need to be neutral and impartial (more on that in another post) which means that they can’t be your boss, your close colleague, your lawyer or your friend unless everyone agrees that they can facilitate the process without a conflict of interest.
Conflict of Interest means that they may get some benefit or have some motivation for trying to steer the mediation outcome in a certain way or that they are unfair in their treatment of someone. Fair is another of those concepts that I’ll explore a bit more later from the perspective of a professional mediation trainer and practitioner.
Take the word snake for example. Some people may hear the word and feel terrified (sorry about that if that is you), some may feel repulsion, some may be indifferent if they’ve not really had any exposure to snakes and they are just not a thing in their lives and others may be fascinated, because they love snakes in particular or all animals. The name of any animal gives them warm and fuzzy feelings, even snakes!
The point is, if we want someone else to use our interpretation of what a word means, we need to use more words so that we can explain it.
Same Same for concepts like mediation.
It is one of our super powers as mediators. We make people explain what they mean by the words they use and make the listener say what they have understood from what has been said to them. Poorly trained or untrained mediators don’t get that distinction.
They think that mediation is just a negotiation process. It is a negotiation process but at its best it is a Collaborative Negotiation process and that is only possible if people are on the same page in terms of their understanding of the issues and also the outcome each would like.
Definition of Mediation
Choosing a Mediator
In my opinion you should ONLY work with a NMAS accredited mediator.
If you don’t you are working with someone who may not be trained, may not be maintaining their professional competence after training, may not be insured and may not have passed good character checks.
If someone takes money from you to mediate but is not on the NMAS Register – look up here find out you have to ask them why not. I mean it. Ask them!
- Is it that they can’t be bothered to comply with the national standard?
- Do they consider themselves above it?
- Are they untrained and ignorant of it?
- Are they not a competent mediator and could not meet the education requirements which requires a role-play assessment of competence?
- Have they had their NMAS Accreditation cancelled, but they still continue to mediate?
When you chose a NMAS accredited mediator:
- the mediator has been accredited by a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body (RMAB).
- the mediator is required to comply with the NMAS Approval Standards and the Practice Standards and any relevant legislation.
- the RMAB is satisfied that the mediator has evidence of competence taking into account their qualifications, training and experience.
- for the mediator to maintain their accredited status they must reapply for accreditation every 2 years showing that they have conducted mediations and met professional development obligations
- the RMAB has obtained evidence that the mediator maintains professional insurance (either individually or via their employer)
- the RMAB has obtained evidence that the mediator is of good character
- if you want to provide feedback or make a complaint, the RMAB has a process for receiving your feedback or complaint, and the mediator is subject to a disciplinary process where that is appropriate.
Why mediation works
This short video explains why the conversations that you have in mediation help to overcome the gaps in understanding and perspective, stop the blame and recriminations and put you to work on resolving whatever the problems are that are feeding the dispute or conflict.
Mediation Institute maintains a directory of members who are available as independent mediators.
The Mediator Standards Board maintains a directory of NMAS Accredited Mediators.
You can search for the mediators name to find out if they are accredited.
NMAS does not provide the training for Family Law Mediation.
There is a 12 month post graduate qualification that people need to do (even lawyers) in order to be qualified to apply to the Australian Attorney Generals Department to become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner which is the official term for a Family Law Mediator in Australia.
If someone is offering to do mediation to reach a property settlement or parenting agreement you can check the Attorney Generals Department Register to see if they are accredited.
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner Register
Glad you asked. There are various providers of the training. We have some rules to comply with set by the NMAS Standards but there are various approaches taken.
I am a believer in elearning because I don’t think just doing a workshop is the best way to learn skills.
If you are looking for flexibility, accessibility and trainers who really care about their students check out our courses on the Mediation Institute website. https://mediationinstitute.edu.au
You can’t avoid the tough Conversations
Seven tips to help you to have tough conversations with your partner or other close connection.
What is Mediation?
This post identifies what mediation is in the context of Australia.