Host: What happens if we can not agree during mediation?
John Spiegel: There are many, many things that a mediator can do to help people who feel like they are stuck move forward and find common ground. The two most important ones are to ask each person to think more about what the underlying cause and needs are that they have in the situation.
Usually when people come into a negotiation, they will express their positions. This is what I want to see has happened and often time the positions are incompatible. So, what the mediator does is ask people, Well, why did you want that position? What is underlying need or goal that your position is aiming to serve. Then the second thing that mediators can do is to invite people to brainstorm, to just throw out lots of different ideas, just throw them out into the conversation and the mediator can keep track of them on the white board and that combination of helping people explore the deeper needs and generating lots of options just almost magically allows human intelligence just to work beautifully and for people to find solutions and often times in mediation couples can be very surprised of how capable they are of solving their own problems.