If Step 3 collaborative talk fails to achieve resolution, adding a facilitator or mediator might help. But just how does this work? If direct talks have failed, how can a facilitator or mediator make a difference?
The answer from the front lines is two-fold. First, in confidential private meetings (sometimes called caucuses) parties often reveal key interests, facts and matters of the heart that they are reluctant to reveal to adversaries for fear of having the information used against them. Due to this feature alone, mediators often have a richer data set from which to help fashion a solution than the parties themselves.
Second, by offering a fair and civil process for exploration, the mediator can serve as a buffer, sometimes diffusing strong emotions, which can allow for better communication. At other times, the mediator may re-frame the situation to shed light on a difficult problem, or offer solutions that address interests in new ways.
Bottom line: A mediator can help lift the level of discourse from avoidance and positional bargaining to one of collaborative problem solving, and in some cases, healing.
For more on how to apply mediation to your situation, see the links below.