Why do people train as mediators?

People become mediators for many different reasons. It is by no means the easiest area of work to get into and it is most certainly a very challenging job. For many however, helping to sort out a conflict that is having a detrimental impact on people’s lives makes the job so rewarding.

Mediation is one of the few professions where you are helping people to help themselves to move on from a difficult situation in a way that feels right and fair for them. It deals with both the emotional and practical aspects of doing this.

For those of us working in family disputes, mediation also ensures that the voices of children are heard and their needs are included in decision making about their future.

The help and support that a mediator gives to their clients has a lasting impact, long after and well beyond the modest intervention that mediation offers.

What skills and experience do you need to become a mediator?

Mediators come from a wide range of backgrounds. One of the important aspects of our mediation training is the diversity of knowledge, skill, experience and background that all our participants bring to each of our courses. When considering applications for the LBA Excellence course, we are as interested in your experience, both personal and professional, as we are in your qualifications. We believe that anyone can learn the skills and expertise needed to be a mediator but it does take hard work and practise, as well as the ability to reflect on and learn from training and experience.

There are certainly attributes that make people good mediators. The ability to listen to others and understand their perspective, without making judgments or wanting simply to give advice is important. You need to be calm and clear thinking in stressful situations. You need to be curious about other people’s experience and what is important to them. You also need to enable people to focus on what they wish to achieve, both for themselves and for their families, friends or colleagues and not be distracted by the disputes that have led them to seek your help.

How do you progress your mediation career after training?

Getting yourself established as a professional mediator post training is by far the most challenging part of your career. Starting out, you will still have lots to learn, putting the skills and knowledge you have gained during training into practise in real life. You will need to find ways of gaining experience, whether this is working for an established mediation provider or setting up your own mediation practice. For family mediation, you will also need to work towards your FMCA. This is your higher accreditation for which you will need both access to the right mediation cases and the support of your professional practise consultant.

Despite these challenges, many mediators achieve all of this and at LBA we have focused specifically on the support mediators need post training, as well as the training course itself. Over the years, the range of support we offer has come together under our post training “Oasis” scheme, offering continued support for new mediators working to establish themselves in the profession.