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Types of Mediation: Choose the Type Best Suited to Your Conflict

Explore various mediation types to find the perfect fit for resolving your conflict. From facilitative to transformative mediation, discover the approach that aligns with your needs.

By John JennerPublished 21 days ago 3 min read

In the world of business, conflicts are inevitable. From disagreements with partners to disputes with customers or employees, conflicts can arise from a multitude of sources. Traditional litigation can be costly, time-consuming, and often detrimental to business relationships. This is where mediation steps in as a valuable alternative.

Mediation is a flexible, confidential, and often quicker approach to resolving disputes. It involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who facilitates a structured dialogue between the conflicting parties. The primary goal is to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. For business owners, mediation not only saves time and money but also preserves professional relationships and promotes collaborative problem-solving.

Exploring the Types of Mediation

Facilitative Mediation: How It Works and Its Advantages

Facilitative mediation is one of the most common and traditional forms of mediation. In this approach, the mediator guides the discussion without providing specific solutions or opinions. The focus is on fostering open communication and helping parties understand each other's perspectives.

Advantages of Facilitative Mediation:

  • Empowerment: Parties retain control over the outcome.
  • Improved Communication: Encourages active listening and understanding.
  • Flexibility: Can be adapted to various types of conflicts.
  • Preserves Relationships: Emphasises collaboration and mutual respect.

Evaluative Mediation: A Deeper Look into the Process and Outcomes

Evaluative mediation services differ significantly from the facilitative model. Here, the mediator plays a more active role by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's position and providing recommendations. This type of mediation is particularly effective in legal contexts or when parties require expert guidance.

Advantages of Evaluative Mediation:

  • Expert Insight: A Mediator's expertise can guide towards realistic solutions.
  • Efficiency: Often faster due to the mediator's active involvement.
  • Clarity: Provides a clearer understanding of potential legal outcomes.
  • Focused Resolution: Ideal for disputes requiring specific technical or legal input.

Transformative Mediation: Understanding the Transformational Aspects

Transformative mediation is centred around the personal growth and empowerment of the parties involved. Unlike other mediation types, the primary goal here is to transform the relationships and interactions between the disputants, rather than just resolving the conflict.

Advantages of Transformative Mediation:

  • Personal Growth: Encourages self-reflection and empowerment.
  • Relationship Building: Focuses on transforming relationships and communication patterns.
  • Long-Term Solutions: Aims for deeper, sustainable resolution of conflicts.
  • Empathy and Respect: Promotes mutual recognition and understanding.

Narrative Mediation: Using Storytelling to Resolve Conflicts

Narrative mediation employs storytelling to address conflicts. This approach recognises that individuals construct stories to make sense of their experiences and interactions. The mediator helps parties rewrite their conflict narratives to create a shared understanding and pave the way for resolution.

Advantages of Narrative Mediation:

  • Creativity: Utilises storytelling as a powerful tool for understanding.
  • Shared Understanding: Helps parties see the conflict from different perspectives.
  • Engagement: Engages parties in a meaningful and reflective process.
  • Resolution through Reframing: Facilitates new ways of seeing the conflict and potential solutions.

Selecting the Best Mediation Type for Your Business Conflict

Choosing the right type of mediation for your business conflict depends on several factors:

  • Nature of the Conflict: Assess whether the conflict is legal, relational, or rooted in communication issues.
  • Desired Outcome: Determine if you seek a quick resolution, expert guidance, or long-term relationship improvement.
  • Party Dynamics: Consider the willingness and openness of the parties involved.
  • Mediator Expertise: Match the mediator’s skills and expertise with the conflict type.

Tips for Engaging in Mediation Effectively

Preparation Guidelines for Business Owners

  • Understand Your Needs: Clearly define your goals and desired outcomes.
  • Gather Relevant Information: Bring all necessary documents and evidence to support your case.
  • Choose the Right Mediator: Select a mediator with relevant experience and expertise.
  • Be Open-Minded: Enter the mediation with a willingness to listen and compromise.

Communication and Participation Best Practices

  • Active Listening: Pay close attention to the other party’s perspective without interrupting.
  • Stay Respectful: Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout the process.
  • Be Honest and Transparent: Openly share your concerns and expectations.
  • Stay Focused: Keep the discussion centred on resolving the conflict rather than escalating it.


Mediation offers a powerful tool for business owners to navigate and resolve conflicts efficiently and amicably. By selecting the right type of mediation—be it facilitative, evaluative, transformative, or narrative—you can tailor the process to suit your specific needs and conflict dynamics. Remember, the key to successful mediation lies in preparation, open communication, and selecting the right mediator. Whether you’re dealing with a partnership dispute, supplier negotiation, or employee grievance, mediation can help you find a resolution that preserves relationships and drives your business forward.

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About the Creator

John Jenner

John Jenner is an expert in digital marketing who has worked for several Sydney-based agencies. He's passionate about social media, content and SEO strategies that he delivers well researched actionable resources to help you succeed!

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