Overview and marking scheme of the Key Skills and Competetencies that are assessed in the 60 minute video role-play assessment
(extract from the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland Certified Member Guidelines form – download a copy here)

Observations of performance should be used to assess the following core areas for assessment

  • Managing the Process
  • Managing the Relationship in Mediation
  • Managing the Content
  • Managing the Self

It is anticipated that because of the timeframe and need to apply the process flexibly and at the parties’ pace, candidates will usually only be able to demonstrate SOME of the qualities and skills set out below in each of the core areas below.
Candidates must demonstrate a Competent (3) rating in all 4 areas to pass the assessment

Managing the Process of Mediation

  • Deals effectively with any initial resistance to mediation
  • Ensures participants have a clear understanding of the structure of the mediation process and roles
  • Where applicable, assists the participants in negotiating the process, ground rules and agenda for mediation sessions
  • Ensures the Agreement to Mediate is signed (either in joint session or beforehand)
  • Manages the introduction process in a respectful, balanced and clear fashion
  • Enables the development of each participant’s story by asking relevant questions, particularly open questions, to encourage parties to talk
  • Attends and explores participants’ concerns and empathises with feelings
  • Manages and signposts transitions between stages and keeps all parties informed
  • Adopts a pace which is responsive to the need of the parties
  • Picks up on and pursues verbal and non-verbal cues to promote progress
  • Remains in charge of the process throughout and handles challenges to either the process or the mediator, calmly and assertively.
  • Summarises and checks before moving on
  • Helps parties to use the time productively when not with mediator by encouraging parties to reflect
  • Manages impasse, resistance, or difficult behaviour
  • Demonstrates appropriate use of joint meetings and/or caucus and respects confidentiality throughout
  • Works with power imbalance or control issues and handles intense emotions appropriately
  • Displays flexibility and uses creative strategies effectively
  • Empowers the participants to explore and find their own ways forward
  • Generates an atmosphere of creative problem solving and facilitates the parties to create solutions and work towards agreement.
  • Assists participants in understanding the consequences of their plans
  • Assists participants with option building and broadening the number or scope of options
  • Works on options, implications and consequences, and avoids premature commitment to solutions
  • Encourages parties to make their own decisions
  • Assists participants in exploring and reality-testing alternatives to mediation, using BATNA, WATNA and reality testing in a timely and effective manner
  • Assists participants with reality testing next steps, particularly through the use of questioning and consultation with other agencies where appropriate
  • Where appropriate, draws together options into a coherent agreement
  • Facilitates parties to draft terms of the Mediation Agreement
  • Writes up Mediation Agreement, where appropriate
  • Ensures any notes, flip/chart notes or any technology used etc. treated in an appropriate and confidential manner

Overall Rating (please circle one): 1   2   3   4    5

Managing the Relationship in Mediation

  • Establishes and maintains a respectful trusting and balanced relationship with the participants by:
  • Creating rapport
  • Respecting the participants
  • Encouraging mutual respect among all participants
  • Being objective and impartial in style
  • Sets the scene and sets the tone, appears relaxed, alert and confident with the process
  • Is attentive to parties’ comfort and needs and arrange breaks during session, as needed
  • Conveys energy, enthusiasm and personal warmth
  • Establishes the mediator’s authority and communicates in an assured, open manner, verbally and non-verbally
  • Uses a range of rapport-building strategies, such as adapting terms used, pace or volume of speech to suit the language level of the parties and acknowledging non- verbal behaviour
  • Ensures non-verbal listening cues (e.g. posture, eye contact) are supportive and balanced.
  • Demonstrates neutrality through equal treatment of the parties and use of non-judgmental language
  • Encourages use of preferred names
  • Enables the participants hear each other’s stories
  • Enables the participants develop a relationship with the mediator(s) and if feasible, with each other in the room, whereby they express feelings and become “real” to each other
  • Paraphrases, asks clarifying questions and summarises to assist parties to feel heard
  • Raises questions between parties about feelings and specific behaviours to encourage constructive expression of emotions and prevent escalation of conflict
  • Demonstrates understanding of each party’s situation and their feelings about it
  • Encourages parties to describe their understanding of others’ statements about feelings, needs and ideas
  • Clarifies between parties the effects of past events relating to dispute issues
  • Allows parties to vent emotions, whilst maintaining a safe environment, in order to enable progress
  • Manages interruptions effectively
  • Reminds parties about agreed ground rules, if other interventions are ineffective
  • Recognises and acknowledges conciliatory gestures and concessions (‘gifts’)
  • Facilitates expressions of regret and apology between the participants
  • Enables the participants explore their future relationship, if relevant
  • Facilitates a collaborative relationship between the participants
  • Encourages participants to openly converse
  • Mutualises common ground between parties
  • Uses silence and other non-verbal communication strategies including pauses
  • Encourages the participants’ self determination

Overall Rating (please circle one): 1   2   3   4    5

Manages the Content of the Mediation

  • Draws out the background and context of the situation
  • Asks neutral, open-ended questions
  • Elicits not only facts, but also parties’ perceptions of the situation and each other.
  • Identifies and probes positions, and explores underlying interests, issues and needs
  • Clarifies and checks understanding of each person’s statements.
  • Enables the participants develop clarity about their concerns
  • Enables parties to see the situation from a broader perspective including the other party’s point of view
  • Explores beyond surface issues
  • Effectively summarises the essence of parties’ stories and concerns
  • Demonstrates a good grasp of each parties needs and underlying interests (both tangible and emotional)
  • Helps to clarify and frame the issues constructively
  • Manages the separation of issues into an agenda
  • Identifies and emphasizes shared issues and interests.
  • Manages information exchange tactically to good effect
  • Helps parties to analyse risks and benefits of particular outcomes
  • Encourages the parties to re-evaluate their own and each other’s position
  • Writes clearly and concisely, using neutral language
  • Where appropriate, asks the participants to elicit information from other professionals (such as appraisers, actuaries, accountants, mental health professionals, child protection professionals or lawyers) with the objective of informing the participants’ options
  • Manages the process without determining content
  • Checks with parties that all issues have been fully explored
  • Records any agreement reached in clear, conscise and unambiguous language.
  • Keeps notes, as necessary, unobtrusively
  • Explains to parties what will happen to any notes taken

Overall Rating (please circle one): 1   2   3   4    5

Managing the Self

  • Upholds and respects key principles of Mediation as per the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland Code of Ethics and Practice and the Mediation Act 2018.
  • Demonstrates an ability to self-manage within the process
  • Demonstrates ability to self-reflect on their performance in the mediation
  • Identifies specific learning from the experience of being the mediator
  • Demonstrates an ability to assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses realistically
  • Identifies specific learning from past experience (personal and professional)
  • Gives one or two examples of how learning has led to changes in behaviour
  • Comments on specific feedback received during the course (from colleagues and/ or trainers)
  • Identifies other specific l earning that has heightened awareness of own strengths and weaknesses
  • Demonstrates an awareness of ethical issues
  • Demonstrates ability to work appropriately and effectively with clients
  • Demonstrates awareness of exercising any biases and practices from current and previous personal and professional experience.

Overall Rating (please circle one): 1   2   3   4    5

Scale to Measure Competencies, Skills and Knowledge

The following rating scales should be used to determine an overall rating under each area. Below each of the area headings are listed several factors to consider in making a rating. Assessors are asked to measure each area by circling the observed competencies on a scale of 1 through to 5 as follows:

5 – Exceptional: The candidate has displayed the skills and knowledge which indicate they have the ability to conduct a mediation and where they demonstrated a capability of using the relevant interventions in each assessment area to an exceptional standard.

4 – Very Good: The candidate has displayed the skills and knowledge which indicate they have the ability to conduct a mediation and where they demonstrated a capability of using the relevant interventions in each assessment area to a very good standard.

3 – Competent: The candidate has displayed the skills and knowledge which indicate they have the ability to conduct a mediation and where they demonstrated a capability of using the relevant interventions identified in each assessment area to a competent standard.

2 – Working Towards: The candidate has not achieved competence. The candidate has displayed some the skills, knowledge and relevant interventions required in each assessment area and is working towards achieving a competent standard.

1 – Unsatisfactory: The candidate has displayed few of the skills and knowledge which indicate they have the ability to conduct a mediation and have failed to demonstrate appropriate use of the relevant interventions.