Indispensable: empathy and emotional intelligence of the mediator
In addition to training and experience, the personality of the mediator is the most important success factor for a mediation. Mediation is not about legal claims, but about conflict issues and personal interests and values behind these issues. These interests and values are crucial for clearing the air and finding a sustainable solution of the conflict. Only when the mediator and the parties – usually in one-to-one interviews – have identified and named these interests, will the path towards a good solution open up.
Oftentimes the parties are not really aware of their deeper interests and values. Therefore, the mediator must ask very carefully, listen very attentively, and go where it hurts. This is only possible with a lot of sensitivity and judgement, with empathy and emotional intelligence. These qualities are crucial to the success of mediation: as a mediator, I can sense where the essence of the dispute is long before you can formulate it.