Have you ever through about becoming a professional mediator? You might be someone who settles arguments between family members or housemates and is often hailed as having a natural ability to see the bigger picture and find solutions where others are unable to.
While that is a good starting point, a career in being a professional mediator takes more than just the ability to settle a few arguments at home. There is a lot of hard work involved in reaching a point where strangers will pay you to arbitrate disputes, and you need to demonstrate a commitment to it for anyone to take you seriously.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most important traits you need to be successful as a professional mediator.
1. Listening skills
In order to be successful as a professional mediator you need to be able to listen to the problems being descried to you by both sides of a dispute. If you fail to listen properly to one or both of the parties, then you could completely jeopardize your credibility as an impartial third party.
For example, if you find it easier to listen to men than women, you might accidentally hear more of the man’s side of the story in a divorce dispute than the woman’s. This would cause you to inadvertently show bias towards the man.
2. Maths and language skills
As a professional mediator, you will often need to preside over disputes over complex issues like finances and contracts. You need to have adequate maths and language skills to be able to comprehend what is being talked about and give meaningful direction in order to settle the dispute.
If you don’t know what you are talking about, both parties will turn on you and demand a different person take over. Sometimes, such as in family law disputes, both parties will be looking to your to navigate the finder details for them to ensure they are both getting a good deal.
3. Compassion and empathy
Of course, the be a professional mediator you also need to demonstrate that you possess both compassion and empathy for your fellow man. This is going to be important in very difficult disputes where there are a lot of emotions involved.
If neither side can sense that you really understand their feelings, they aren’t going to trust your judgement because you don’t know how they are feeling. Your job as a professional mediator is to reassure people that you know what you are talking about so that they will respect your judgements.
4. Academic integrity
Becoming a professional mediator is more complicated than just putting up your hand, you need to study and train for several years to get the necessary qualifications. You will likely need to also start in the workforce as an apprentice or intern who is mentored by a fully qualified professional mediator who will teach you on-the-job.
You need to be able to pass all of your exams and get the result for the magic piece of paper at the end that say you are ready to work. During this time, you should attempt to network with professors and mentors and even other students so that you have future connections to rely on when times get tough for whatever reason.