How I work & what you can expect when I am your mediator

Arabella’s unique Reset & Resolution Process for achieving peaceable resolutions

Many people think of mediation as a one-off, one-day event – often associated with a hair-raisingly late night, hashing out terms and figures. That model may work well for commercial mediations, but it is less likely to work well for interpersonal mediations, especially in health, social care and the workplace where we are seeking to rebuild crucial relationships concerned with collaboration and trust. 

As humans, when a relationship breaks down, we need a window of time to: explore what happened and gradually rebuild trust, and only then we can move into a future-orientated solution-focussed thinking mode. In that mode, we are well-placed to make decisions about a sustainable way forward, and agree outcomes that will last.

For this reason I have developed a phased process called Reset & Resolution Process, where parties are able to move towards mutually-agreed decisions over a period of weeks rather than hours – achieving peaceable resolutions that last.

Reset & Resolution Process overview:

  • A Commissioning Call establishes the scope for the mediation process
  • Each party is offered TWO Private Meetings (1 week apart), one for Goal-Setting and one for Preparation/Coaching
  • The parties are offered TWO Joint Meetings (1 – 9 weeks apart), one for Reset the relationships and making some interim agreements to trial out, and one for making a Resolution Agreement based on the re-established relationship and trust.
  • The parties are given a written copy of their Resolution Agreement

The features and benefits of the phased Reset & Resolution Process:

Two Private Meetings:

  • time to develop trust and rapport with the mediator
  • time to discuss what happened and feel heard by the mediator (without the pressure to resolve it on the same day)
  • time to receive coaching on conflict resolution and practise the skills before the joint meetings
  • time with the mediator to discuss, agree and prepare for the exact Agenda, so there are no ‘surprises’ on the day
  • a mental-health aware and trauma-informed approach that recognises the impact of conflict on individuals, and supports them to feel safe to meet with the other party to make decisions about the future

Two Joint Meetings:

  • no pressure to resolve everything in one meeting
  • time in the first ‘Reset’ meeting for individuals to explore what happened, to the degree they would like to
  • space to feel heard and understood by each other, without recrimination but with authenticity
  • aiming in the first ‘Reset’ meeting to decide some simple win-win actions agreements by which parties can rebuilt trust over the next 1-9 weeks (eg. re-establishing monthly meetings; change of timetable; new communication protocols)
  • aiming in the second ‘Resolution’ meeting (1-9 weeks later) to review progress and, on the basis of rebuilt trust, resolve larger substantive issues (eg. care plan changes, withdrawal of notice, end of legal proceedings, settlement agreements, employment changes)
  • a written Resolution Agreement is created and shared with parties. This can be kept confidential to the parties, or shared eg with the court, HR, the local authority, the NHS trust.

Arabella’s Reset & Resolution Process – a sample timeline


What if we resolve everything in the first ‘Reset’ joint meeting?

Then we can stop the process there. I’m always delighted when we need less rather than more work together before you feel back on track.

What if I want to stop the process at any point?

That’s absolutely fine. This is a flexible, voluntary process, and any party can call time on it at any moment. Please talk to your mediator before making a firm decision if you can, and do give notice where meetings have been scheduled.

Who finds out about what we discuss and agree? 

Mediation is a confidential process, so everything you discuss with me in private meetings remains confidential. Similarly, everything people discuss in joint meetings must remain strictly confidential, and no recordings are to be made. The safe, confidential space is what makes mediation special, and allows people to speak freely in the spirit of seeking solutions together. In terms of your Resolution Agreement, that remains confidential to the parties, unless it has been pre-agreed, or agreed in the joint meetings by all parties, that part or all of it will be shared with relevant stakeholders.

Will the mediator decide who is right or wrong, or what happens next?

Not at all. Mediation is different to arbitration, ombudsman services, grievance investigations or court proceedings. A mediator is impartial, neutral and there to support the parties to come to their own ‘self-determined’, mutually-acceptable agreement. We are in a sense ‘negotiation facilitators’ with special skills in conflict managment and relationship rebuilding, and we don’t advise or give opinions.

Do we have to follow your Reset and Resolution process formula?

Not at all. Mediation is designed to be flexible and accessible, so we can easily create a bespoke timeline to meet everyone’s needs.

What does mediation offer that is different from going to court, tribunal or other formal processes?

  • A confidential and private process 
  • A mutually-agreed outcome
  • A neutral and impartial negotiation facilitator
  • An earlier resolution than court may be able to offer
  • A self-determined resolution
  • Coaching in communication for successful negotiation 
  • Finding consensus and a way forward 
  • The psychological safety of dialogue space held by an experienced mediator 
  • A flexible, party-led process, involving private and joint meetings
  • Space to restore trust and repair relationships if desired
  • Avoiding court costs
  • Avoiding or ending the distress and broken relationships of court or tribunal


How does mediation work? Typically, my mediation process covers the following steps

  1. Intake Form: I will call or email you to say hello and ask you to complete an intake questionnaire 
  2. Private meeting 1  (or part 1) – Goal-setting: You/your party and I meet for an initial private meeting by zoom to discuss your questionnaire and for me to understand the ‘future solutions’ you hope to achieve through mediation.
  3. Private meeting 2 (or part 2) – Coaching for the Mediation Meeting: You/your party and I meet for a second private meeting to discuss and ‘walk through’ the draft Agenda for the first mediation meeting, which I will have drawn up having by now met with the other party/ies as well. 
  4. Joint Mediation Meeting – part 1 – Listening and Exploring: The parties come together (zoom/in-person) to briefly discuss their experience of ‘what has happened’ and then to make their requests and suggestions of ‘future solutions’ to one and other. 
  5. Joint Mediation Meeting – part 2: Deciding Agreements & Actions: Having had time to consider each other’s requests and suggestions, we explore the best ‘future solutions’ until we have a list of ‘Agreements and Actions’. I then write this up as a Meeting Outcomes document – which is private to the parties, and where necessary can be made legally binding with the input of the parties’ solicitors. 
  6. Follow-up and feedback to the mediator: I will agree when and how to check-in with you, some 4-6 weeks after resolution. I will ask you for your feedback to help me continually improve my practice.

What are the main tenets of mediation? 

  • Confidential – nothing said in meetings may be disclosed by the mediator or parties to anyone else
  • Impartially facilitated – I am equally committed to the wellbeing of both/all parties
  • Voluntary – starting and stopping the process is completely in the parties’ hands
  • Self-determined – I don’t arbitrate/advise but rather I help parties agree mutually-acceptable outcomes. Mediation is now becoming known as ‘Negotiated Dispute Resolution’ (NDR). 

What’s the difference between ‘Workplace Facilitation/Mediation’ and ‘Employment Mediation’? 

Employment mediation would normally be appropriate when the employment relationship is at an end and a dispute exists between the employee and the employer, whereas workplace mediation takes place when conflict has developed between two or more employees and the employment relationship is likely to continue. I can discuss this with you, and your legal representatives and/or HR team where appropriate,  to work out the best approach. I was trained in Employment and Workplace Mediation by, and am a trainer for, CEDR. Find out more with the CEDR Guide to Workplace Mediation: CEDR’s Guide to Workplace Mediation 2021.pdf 

What is Conflict Coaching?

Conflict coaching is a one-on-one process that develops the individual’s skill at handling conflict, or supports the client in working through a particularly difficult or complex conflict. We recommend conflict coaching in the following circumstances: 

  • Where only one party is willing or able to mediate
  • To work through the repercussions of a past conflict 
  • To build skills at constructively resolving a current conflict
  • To prepare for a challenging conversation 
  • To understand our own conflict style – and learn new approaches
  • Improving a significant relationship that is damaged by on-going conflict
  • Strategically managing organisational change
  • Before, during and/or after mediation 

What’s the difference between Mediation and Conflict Coaching? 

Mediation  Conflict Coaching 
  • 2+ parties 
  • Goal: Resolve and plan for the future
  • Mediator’s role: Facilitate process while also coaching parties in 1:1s
  • Benefits: Opportunity for both parties to hear each other’s perspective and collaborate on planning a positive future 
  • A mix of 1:1s with the mediator, and facilitated joint meetings, in-person and/or on Zoom
  • Single party
  • Goal: Strategies to respond to the conflict
  • Mediator’s role: Coach and supporting; sharing tools where appropriate
  • Benefits: Empowering space for individuals to learn new approaches they can use themselves, and transfer across their life
  • 3-8 sessions of 60-90mins each, generally on Zoom only.


Interested in finding out how I can help you, your client or team? Book your confidential, no-obligation enquiry call here: