by Rita Bailey

Making agreements

This stage in the process is critical to mediation as it provides each person with the opportunity to generate and assess options for moving forward beyond mediation to action that needs to be taken and/or action from which individuals should refrain to ensure future disputes don’t arise.

As mediator, you will shift into a new and welcome stage. As always, you need to remain impartial and attentive throughout, understanding that your role is not to make suggestions. At this point, people in dispute will be engaging in dialogue as each of them makes suggestions and they come up with various options.


To staff member A: What would you ask from B on the issue you are both discussing?

To staff member B: What could you offer to do to help A give you what you want here?

The key here, if an individual declines a suggestion, is to ask them to come up with a viable alternative.


What will that do?

How will that work?

The mediator collects all the options or suggestions, supporting the individuals to assess them, discard those they do not want to use and build agreement on those they find practical.

While the options are being assessed, the mediator helps to ensure that each option is given a ‘reality check’.

Place focus and emphasis on areas of consensus/areas that are no longer in dispute, continually checking out each person’s preference for particular options.