Mediation: a Rewarding Career

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If you’re thinking about a career in mediation, you will be pleasantly surprised at how rewarding a career it is. A career in mediation is a fulfilling role that puts you at the forefront of helping others in times of need. But, what exactly is involved and is it the right career path for you? While everyone is different and everyone enjoys different study paths, there are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about pursuing a career in mediation.

What is mediation?

Mediation is fast becoming one of the most effective and popular strategies to settling disputes between numerous parties. Mediation is the process of helping a number of parties to talk in an open manner about their disputes and any issues they have with a mediator in their presence. The mediator will help guide the conversation and help the involved parties to find some common ground and to look for a resolution.

Because of the popularity of the area of mediation, it is expected that this career will see a steady increase in job opportunities in years to come. This makes it a rather popular choice for those looking to enter the workforce or for those who are looking for a career change.

Where are mediators employed?

Although there are a number of different areas a mediator may work, the most common places you may be employed are:

  • Schools and universities
  • Local and State Government
  • Corporations
  • Insurance providers
  • Legal service providers
  • Independent mediator

One of the most common places a mediator may be employed is in the legal system. Before going to court, depending on the case, mediation may be a better avenue to try and resolve any issues. This reduces stresses of court appearances, especially in cases where children are involved (such as Family Court issues).

Mediation or court?

Court cases can be stressful and complicated. The reasons many people opt for mediation first are:

  • Cost: If a dispute can be resolved through mediation, it means that everyone can save costs in running a trial in court. Also, when going to court, often the unsuccessful party will need to pay the legal expenses of the successful party, so this is yet another reason why mediation is a good option
  • Time: Court trials can run for an extended period of time. However, mediation may mean that the disputing parties can come up with a resolution a lot quicker, sometimes after only one mediation session depending on the case
  • Flexibility: Mediation is a lot less stressful than a court trial. Mediation can also be adjusted in some cases to help suit the needs of those involved

Who seeks mediation?

People seek mediation for a number of different reasons and for a wide range of cases. Some of the typical people who may seek mediation are

  • Couples who are separating or divorcing: Couples who have assets to share or who wish to organise situations involving children. Bear in mind that those who are separating or divorcing from a violent ex-partner, mediation is not suitable
  • Neighbours: Some neighbours will naturally have disputes. Instead of bringing their issues into the court system, it often helps to try and resolve any problems through mediation instead
  • Family members: Family disputes happen and it is a lot less stressful and can be cost effective to resolve these issues out of the court system

What types of skills do I need to be a mediator?

You will often learn everything you need to know to be a successful mediator when studying an appropriate course, but there are some skills that will come in handy if thinking about being a mediator.

  • Management skills: You should be able to manage all aspects, such as good timekeeping, organisation skills and managing cases and projects when required
  • Customer service: You will be required to work with disputing parties, so having great customer service skills means you can effectively discuss the needs of everyone involved
  • Counselling and psychology: Some cases can be quite upsetting to some people, so understanding the psychology behind how people feel and providing counselling where needed can be very beneficial to your role as a mediator
  • Key negotiating skills: One of the key aspects of being a mediator is negotiating. If you’re often the friend who is helping others to resolve conflicts between friends and family, and can help keep situations calm and collected, you may be highly suited to a role in mediation

Being able to stay neutral during mediation is very important. Because you are there to help those involved to come to an agreement of some kind, it’s vital you are unbiased throughout the whole process and avoid being partial, no matter how you feel about the situation in dispute.

Will I need a law degree?

The short answer is, no. However, if you’re serious about being a mediator, you can earn a law degree in the future to help with specific cases that involve the legal system. Some areas where a law degree would be beneficial are family law matters, commercial disputes (under litigation) and industrial law disputes.

Is mediation right for you?

Mediation can be a challenging career, but is a highly rewarding one to those who pursue it professionally. Being able to help people who are in stressful situations and disputes can be very gratifying. With the right skills and knowledge, it’s possible to be a highly successful mediator. Call the International Career Institute today to talk about your future in mediation.

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