Part of former Senator George Mitchell’s National Public Radio interview about the tenth anniversary of The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 touched on the qualities a mediator needs to possess. The process of creating that accord took many months, with plentiful naysayers, ongoing flare-ups of violence in Northern Ireland, and a complicated path to resolution. Mitchell cited three attributes essential for a mediator: patience, determination, and hope. Good choices.
Patience is necessary for the mediator to help the parties resolve difficult disputes. If a quick fix were possible, the parties could probably reach agreement without the assistance of a mediator.
Determination helps the mediator continue to move forward in the process, even when the obstacles presented by the issues (or the parties themselves) are high.
Finally, the mediator can possess hope for a successful resolution when the parties in conflict are discouraged. Because the mediator has helped resolve other disputes where detours and setbacks were overcome and agreements reached when they had seemed beyond everyone’s grasp, the mediator can offer hope that this dispute, too, can be resolved.