How do you measure success in mediation?

How do you measure success in mediation?Sounds an easy enough question at first glance, doesn’t it? Surely it’s about finding a solution. An end point. An outcome.

But when you take some time to really think about it , the question itself raises almost as many questions as answers.

Fundamentally, it is really about how we, as human beings measure success.

If you’re looking for a dictionary definition it would be : The accomplishment of an aim or purpose Derived from the Latin, successus. Generally we associate success with reaching an outcome we want, a goal we have our eye on, making the best of our own position and aspirations.

When a couple decides to divorce however, the focus from we can swiftly move to the I and the common goals once shared begin to diverge.

When families separate, some of these individual goals will remain apparent and of course they should. You will each be concerned about your own living arrangements, how you will each make ends meet, whether you will need to get a job or change your working hours, or will you need to continue providing and if so, until when and what other changes will you each be facing?

Success for these questions, might be the unilateral achievement of those individual goals.

But of course, that isn’t the end of it …. Particularly where there are children involved, you will need to keep a connection with your ex, over many years to come. Not just for those life events of the future; graduation, weddings, grandchildren….BUT the everyday events and decisions which need to be made by you both.

Success here is a different thing altogether.

So what matters most to us? How would you measure success in mediation?

Would you think it a success because:

  • you can meet face to face, communicating directly rather than through lawyers or other representatives?
  • you want to understand more simply what the other person wants?
  • You want to be listened to, heard and understood?
  • You want a quiet private arena where an apology can be made with dignity?
  • You want to clarify information and facts whist avoiding the delay, cost and uncertainty of any further dispute and conflict?

Or would success to you be if:

  • You ‘beat’ the other?
  • You end up with an outcome most favourable to you?
  • You receive an apology?
  • You are able to set out exactly what it is that you are unhappy about to the other?
  • You can create some doubt in the other person’s mind about the strength of their convictions?

Or are there other measures of success?

Do you want the mediator to control the environment?

Do you want to make sure that you both have sufficient radio space to speak and be heard?

Do you just want it done?

Do you want to draw a line in the sand and lay some firmer foundations for the future?

Do you want an outcome that you believe will stick?

The success of mediation is in accomplishing the aim of making sure you both (and the children) leave with a mutually acceptable set of solutions you each feel is fair and workable.

If you would like to learn more about how family mediation can help re-establish better communication and establish more realistic expectations of each other in situations where everyone can achieve a sense of success in the outcome, please telephone the office on 01279 211657 for a fully confidential and free, no obligation discussion of your needs and one of our fully accredited mediators will talk you through our step by step mediation process.

Carolyn Hanes
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