Turn Your Natural Problem-Solving Skills into a Rewarding Career in Mediation

Problem-solvers are people who enjoy challenges and finding ways to navigate difficulties to arrive at a workable and satisfactory solution. If you thrive on finding opportunities within problems and using your natural problem-solving skills to find answers to those problems, you may want to consider a career in mediation.

As a mediator, you can expect to face a variety of challenges in whatever field you choose to specialize in. Here’s how you can take your valuable skill set and start a successful career in mediation.

What makes someone good at mediation?

The heart of any mediation role revolves around its purpose: to represent a neutral third-party who listens, supports and helps people or groups involved in a conflict find a resolution. A good mediator does not insert herself into the problem or conflict; instead, she assists parties to work together to develop an agreement.

Of course, conflicts are typically not cordial matters; therefore, a good mediator needs to be aware of all outside biases and issues that the parties are bringing into the mediation. This position means the mediator must examine agendas or obstacles that may prevent a resolution from occurring. Above all, a successful mediator must remain impartial, pouring her energy into helping others resolve their conflicts in mutually agreeable ways.

What skills can a mediator expect to use every day?

Mediators must bring a wealth of skills to the table when they work with parties to solve a problem. These are some of the essential skills a mediator will use every day:

  • Active listening skills involve the ability to concentrate on what is being said through the use of the five senses. Using verbal and non-verbal messages reassures the speaker that the mediator is actively listening to what they have to say.
  • Questioning and clarifying skills: Both of these skills are critical to a successful mediation. Questioning skills allow the mediator to gain information, express interest in the speaker’s points, encourage discussion and further thought. Clarifying skills, an extension of reflecting, involves restating the speaker’s point back to them, to ensure you understand their point and reassure them that you are listening to them.
  • Empathy: An awareness of people’s feelings and emotions is a core skill mediators must employ daily. Empathy is a vital part of emotional intelligence, and it allows a mediator to “feel with” the clients involved rather than “feeling for” them and their situation.

What are the characteristics of a great mediator?

Mediation relies on far more than just problem-solving skills; it also requires certain characteristics, both inherent and learned, to achieve a satisfactory and amicable conclusion. Here are some characteristics of a great mediator:


Planning and preparation are the core components of mediation. A great mediator devotes the time necessary before each session to review notes and prepare to work toward a positive solution for all parties.


A respected and well-regarded mediator is one who never lets emotions or personal feelings about an issue influence their approach to conflict-resolution. It is through an impartial approach that a mediator can guide clients toward the best agreement possible.


Parties need to know that their mediator is working to help both groups find a solution to their problem. That means the clients need to trust the mediator, believing that she will stay impartial and keep their discussions confidential.


A great mediator uses her analytical skills to study and assess the problem at hand quickly. In-depth study of the situation will lead to more knowledge about the issue and more creative solutions to the argument.


A successful mediator will possess empathy, be respectful of all parties and positions, and establish a friendly rapport with clients. Genuine, human concern combined with active listening skills sets the tone for any mediation and eventual resolution.

How to choose the right practice type

There are a vast amount of specialized areas that you can practice in as a mediator. From mediation in business, relationships and divorce, and education to health care, malpractice, and workers’ compensation, there is no shortage of areas to focus on as a mediator. But how do you choose the right practice type?

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It helps to explore the fields where mediation is employed and find a few types that appeal to you. Use your analytical skills to learn as much as possible about these areas of interest. Read books about the process of mediation. Consider reaching out to mediators and practitioners to speak with them about their experiences in this career. Enrol in conferences and make networking connections with professionals. These experiences can help you find the mediation career that is of most interest to you.

Let ICI help you solve problems and find resolutions

Are you ready to begin a career in mediation? ICI can help you hone your natural problem-solving skills and learn the characteristics necessary to become a great mediator in any field. Enrol today in ICI’s Mediation courses, and earn the qualifications you need to start your career in mediation.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.