Pre-Mediation Coaching: 4 Skills for Your Mediation Clients

© 2012 by Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Whether you are a lawyer, counselor, manager or other professional, you are likely to be involved in mediation regularly or occasionally. Legal professionals are required to have their clients participate in mediation before going to court in many kinds of disputes these days. Yet mediation isn’t perfect and some disputes unfortunately remain unresolved, despite the mediator’s and others’ best efforts. Studies show that 60-80% of disputes are resolved in mediation, depending on the type of dispute, so it still has a great track record and is the preferred approach in most situations – but perhaps we can do even better.

In an effort to make mediation more effective – especially in high conflict cases – some mediators offer pre-mediation coaching services, or have other professionals provide this service. In this article, I suggest that pre-mediation coaching can be particularly effective if it includes teaching and practicing 4 specific skills, especially for clients dealing with a high-conflict dispute. This article is followed by a 2-page handout for clients, which you have my permission to use in individual coaching sessions.

When to Provide Coaching

Depending on the nature and history of the dispute, it can be very helpful to have a coaching session with each client several days before the mediation begins. This way, each participant can realistically think about the...

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