An intermediary (or mediator) is a party who intervenes between parties involved in a conflict or dispute for the purpose of assisting them in the resolution of the conflict or dispute. The intermediary is not directly involved in the conflict or dispute and serves as an advocate for a fair process and to facilitate effective communication among the parties.
While the intermediary does not have decision-making authority, the intermediary is not without influence. The role of an intermediary in mediation can vary along a continuum from highly directive to highly nondirective with respect to the issues confronting the parties, the mediation process, and the interaction between the parties. The role of the intermediary is to gain insight relating to the parties’ conflicts and adapt the mediation process to meet the needs of the parties. In general, the role of the intermediary is moderately directive in assisting the parties to be successful in their negotiations.
In most situations, an intermediary only encounters situations when negotiations between the parties have reached an impasse or when parties have avoided negotiations. The role of the intermediary is to assist the parties procedurally in their negotiations. The role of the intermediary is to remain neutral and impartial while separating his or her personal opinions about the past while continually focusing the parties on the options for resolution of their conflicts.
The role of the intermediary is to provide the parties with a realistic examination of the issues and options during the mediation process. The parties in the mediation process are assisted by the intermediary in realizing the opportunity for attaining the resolution that they are seeking. The intermediary conducts the mediation in an unbiased role while helping guide the parties in the initiation of actions that are not detrimental in resolving the conflicts they are involved in. The role of the intermediary is as an advocate for a fair process for both parties.