We receive many requests for mediation observations. You may be urgently seeking opportunities for 3 observations before you can practice. You do not need to do this if you are a workplace mediator, community mediator, complaints mediator or family conflict mediator.
We support many successful mediators, internal mediation services and independent mediation services that have not undertaken observations and do not need to undertake observations.
By the time you have secured your three observations, it may well be 3-6 months after your training. By this time skill fade will have resulted in you forgetting much of your skills or will have eroded much of your confidence. You may also have secured an observation and discovered that the mediator’s practice or case experience is very different from what you were trained in or the area you wish to practice in. The mediator may well have been trained ten or twenty years ago when commercial mediation training was evaluative rather than facilitative.
Observations are a requirement of Family Mediation (Divorce and Separation under the Family Law Act) and Civil & Commercial Mediation. This is a valid quality standard for those sectors. However the aims, models and training reflect the nature of the issues they deal with. Trainers and providers from those two sectors have moved into other mediation sectors and are imposing their standards on sectors where they have limited experience or authority. Both the Civil & Commercial and Family Mediation sectors operate very close to the law. This is different from workplace, community, complaints and family conflict sectors.
Family mediation training and civil and commercial mediation training are dispute settlement models or at best dispute resolution models. They operate in a context where resolving the relationship issue or the notion of an on-going relationship is not the primary focus of the training or the mediation process. You may have been told that there is a relationship focus in your training, however there is a question of degree and the balance of substantive to relational issues. In workplace, community, complaints or family conflict mediation – we offer a conflict resolution model with a strong relationship focus. In many respects, the course structure, theory base, mediation model and values of Civil & Commercial mediation have limited fit with workplace, community, complaints and family conflict.
How do we know this? We have interviewed, re-trained, supported and supervised many mediators who have backgrounds in civil and commercial mediation and family mediation. Every time we secure a new client, for training or for mediation, we hear of a complaint or bad experience involving poor mediation practice or questionable mediation training. Consistently this relates to mediation providers from other sectors moving into workplace, community, complaint or family conflict settings.
Mediation quality and standards are currently being eroded. On the surface the mediation industry seems to be developing, however its foundations are flawed when standards from one sector are generalised and imposed on another sector. Those sectors that operate closest to the law operate off the more simplistic models of mediation. Applying these models to different areas attracts risk: for consumers, for organisations and for mediators.
Every mediator, in-house service or independent service we train receives 12 months case and service support. We train for practice and accredit learning. All our courses have high levels of role-play practice and you are assessed as either fit to practice or not fit to practice at the end of the course. If passed, you are then able to practice as soon as possible after the course. This is critical as it allows you to continue your learning and growth and take on cases at a high point in your development, rather than 3-6 months later when your skills have faded. We offer one of the strongest accreditations in the UK and lead the way in exemplary quality standards as verified by independent external audit.
We recommend 6 day Certificate courses as these have a 95% pass rate. Typically 5 day courses have a 70% pass rate. Whilst this may seem stringent, it means less people make the grade in the shorter time frame. This also means that those who have passed are at a lower bar than they would be on a 6 day course. This is having a significant impact on standards and quality in mediation. We have delivered many 5 and 6 day Certificates and have learnt the difference. Specifically 5 day Monday to Friday courses are less than optimal in terms of mediation learning and standards.
We would like to hear about your experience of mediation training and development. Unfortunately we do not offer work experience opportunities and we do not offer observations. There are organisations that now charge for observation opportunities. Were you made aware of the need for observations before you booked onto your training course? Were you made aware of the additional cost and timeframe of the observations before you booked onto your course? We’d like to hear about your experience of this, please email at first and we may get back in touch with a phone call if you wish.
We speak with many people who wish they had trained with us first.
We are passionate about quality and standards in the mediation sector. Your experiences, stories and concerns can help us identify good practice and areas that need to be improved. We look forward to hearing from you.