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The goal of inclusive mediation is to support the participants in having difficult conversations and to guide a problem solving process to develop solutions which meet everyone’s needs, with all content decisions made by the participants. In the Inclusive Framework, co-mediation is used.
Inclusive mediators do not set ground rules. Mediators focus on listening for values, feelings, and topics and reflect these back to the participants, checking to make sure that the participants feel the reflection is accurate. The mediators attempt to understand each participant, thus making it more possible for them to understand each other. Mediators follow a defined process which includes time for participants to share the situation, build clarity as to what is important, identify topics participants want to resolve, identify the goals each participant has for each topic, brainstorm options, consider each of the generated options in terms of which would meet all participants’ goals, and determine areas of agreement, if any.
Inclusive mediators rarely use caucuses. They might do so in situations where mediators need to check if mediation is a good fit for the conflict. If agreement is reached, it can be written by the mediator based on the direction of the participants, and it is reviewed and confirmed by all participants in the mediation. In inclusive mediation, the mediators guide the process and the participants are in charge of whether agreement or any other outcome is reached.
If we divided mediator strategies into listening, reflecting, reframing, providing information, making suggestions, and persuading strategies, inclusive mediators would use listening to work on understanding, and reflecting and reframing in a way that matches the intensity participants express, with no providing information, making suggestions, or persuading strategies.