There is no simple answer to this question. There is no one predictor of success as a mediator. Successful mediators come from many different backgrounds and have varied life experiences. A competent mediator is an effective conflict manager. Competence depends partly on the type of the dispute and the parties' expectations. It also depends on whether the mediator has the right mix of acquired skills, training, education, experience and natural abilities to help resolve the specific dispute.
A good mediator will probably have many of the following qualities:
• Overall "people" skills.
• Good verbal and listening skills.
• Thinks "outside the box."
• Helps people work together as a team.
• Respect for the parties.
• The ability to gain the parties' confidence.
• Knowledge of the mediation process.
• Brings a balanced approach to control of the process.
• Initiative and the confidence to use it.
• Keeps information confidential.
• Ability to remain calm under pressure.
The most important skills and abilities include impartiality, the abilities to communicate, and the ability to define and clarify issues.