Facilitative, Evaluative, and Transformative approaches to mediation
Most mediators were trained in, and use the facilitative approach to mediation. The main reason mediators prefer this method is that they can best assure that the parties to mediation are able to make their decision through self-determination. Options to resolve the dispute are explored, and the use of caucuses is prevalent. Issues are defined and analyzed by the parties and their counsel, special interests of the parties are determined, points of view are recognized, and sufficient information is obtained so the parties can decide to resolve the case, or go forward allowing the court to make their decision. The facilitative mediator is in charge of the process, not the outcome.
Mediators using the evaluative method tend to be hands on regarding case value, pointing out weaknesses of each party’s position, and even analyzing the value of a case based upon actual damages, and the impact the case may have on a court or jury. The evaluative mediator uses many caucuses called “Shuttle Diplomacy”, and unlike the facilitative mediator he/she influences the process, and to some degree, the outcome of a mediation. This method was often used in Florida at the time when most mediators were retired judges. A mediator using this method must be cognizant to the parties right to self-determination, or fall afoul of the mediator ethics rules.
Transformative mediators tend not to use caucuses, and the process is intended to explore the parties interests, needs, and points of view, so they can transform their ideas to resolve a case. This process usually causes mediations to last longer, and there is less emphasis on settling the case being mediated. In this instance, the mediator gives up control of the process and outcome.