This aspect will examine the landscape of Dispute Resolution, covering the different Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes, ranging from Negotiation to Arbitration. Emphasis will be placed on Effective Dispute Resolution (EDR) which essentially involves matching dispute resolution processes (including Litigation) to the specific needs of parties.
This will provide the participants with in-depth knowledge of basic psychology required for effective understanding of human nature. It examines the different personality types and temperaments and relates them to one another. Each participant will, through the exercises, decipher his/her own personality type and thereby, be able to adapt choices, vocation and even work to suit his/her unique personality. It will also enable them to deal more effectively with people from different backgrounds; making them more versatile and accommodating.
3.1 Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills
The various communication skills and tools that the effective mediator must employ and deploy in the mediation process will be covered in this aspect of the training. The different models of communication, barriers to communication, active listening, body language, use of “You” and “I” statements and non-verbal signals will be examined along with effective ways of Restating, Rephrasing, Summarizing, Reflecting and Paraphrasing.
Also, effective ways of building rapport, matching and mismatching, using silence and minimal verbal prompts and relating with people in an assured, confident and professional manner will be considered.
3.2 Working with emotions
During negotiations and mediation, parties come with different degrees of fears, frustration, expectations and hopes. There is the need for the effective mediator to be able to understand this myriad of feelings and be able to effectively deal with them.
This aspect will therefore be considering the different emotions and feelings of parties that the mediator can expect to deal with during the negotiation and mediation process.
3.3 The Profile of an Effective Mediator
Consideration will be given here to the understanding of some of the personal characteristics and qualities that parties to a dispute expect to find in a mediator. Besides qualities that are of a personal and tangible nature, other intangible qualities will also be considered that will make for effective mediation.
This session will be examining the different negotiation tactics and strategies that parties employ during mediation. The mediator needs to understand these tactics and strategies in order to be able to determine when they are deployed and how to encourage or discourage the use of such strategies or tactics.
The mediator will need to employ problem solving techniques, use relationships and group dynamics effectively and understand what drives the parties. The mediator as a negotiator will therefore be acting as a neutral diplomat, helping the parties to focus on their “interests, needs and concerns” as against “positions”; be able to “separate the people from the problem”, “use objective criteria” and “generate options for mutual gain”.
Being the focal consideration for the training program, much emphasis will be placed on Mediation: Concept and Practice. This will entail the consideration of the principal elements of good mediation, the different phases of mediation and basic strategies adopted in each phase. The course will also examine different ways of breaking deadlocks in mediation, how to incorporate mediation clauses into contractual agreements and how to prepare standard settlement agreements.
This in the main will be considering the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, as it applies to the practice of Mediation in Nigeria. Although mediation has been adopted as the generic term in contemporary dispute resolution (and mediation and conciliation are being used interchangeably, depending on the context, country or sector), the history/relationship between Mediation and Conciliation will be examined in detail.
In order to effectively intervene in conflict situations, it is instructive for Mediators to understand and know how to analyze conflicts. The different tools for conflict analysis and best practices in the field will be examined under this section.
To ensure that the process receives the desired credibility that can build confidence in disputing parties to employ same for the resolution of their disputes, the basic Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics for Mediators will be considered.
To build confidence in participants and to ensure that they can translate theory and enthusiasm about Mediation into practice, participants will be required to do a post course assignment that should be submitted within 2-weeks of the final day of the training.
The assignment in the main will be requiring the participants to look into their various contexts and attempt the resolution of an ongoing dispute and report back the outcome. If concluded and successful, they will be required to submit a standard settlement agreement; if not (concluded within the two weeks), they will be required to write a settlement agreement on the likely outcome. They will equally be required to realistically access themselves by identifying their areas of strengths and weaknesses; and to also produce an Action Plan for effective application of the skills acquired during the programme.