The PULSE model serves as the mediator’s road map.
The outer ring represents the dynamic process of managing a conversation, and although the conversation process is taught in a linear way, the process in practice will emerge in accordance with the interaction of the parties and the mediator.
Participants in the conversation process may jump in and around various stages throughout the course of a conversation.
However, the conversation leader, mediator or facilitator keeps them on track by ensuring that each of the questions asked at each stage are answered and addressed following the map to avoid getting lost or ignoring relevant information along the way.
The inner circle represents the spheres of activity and dialogue that accompany the conversational interaction associated with UNCOVERING CIRCUMSTANCES, LEARNING the SIGNIFICANCE, SEARCHING POSSIBILITIES and EXPLAINING a PLAN of action.
The conversation process may flow forward and backward. It is like driving a stick-shift…every so often, it is necessary to downshift to slow down and deal with the traffic and conditions.
This structure for conversation can be used for any kind of meeting or conversation with your important people, however, it is a perfect fit for negotiation and mediation where parties aim at arriving at a mutual conclusion or agreement on the issues discussed.
The PULSE model has been proven to be very effective for the purpose, and taking participants or disputing parties through each stage of the conversation guarantees a smooth and reliable process for resolution/agreement.
The PULSE structure or guide follows a five stage process where the mediator, negotiator or lead facilitator; Prepares the parties for the conversation, Uncover circumstances leading to the issues, Learn the Significance of the matter to both parties, Search for possibilities and available options for resolution and Explain a plan of action.
Preparation involves reviewing the process the parties will go through, identifying the roles of each person (disputing parties and mediator), setting the protocol, establishing time, confidentiality and authority and procuring a commitment to proceed.
Uncover stage involves having each participant briefly reveal their story so that the mediator can identify, in neutral, mutually acceptable terms, the subject of the dispute.
Learn stage involves the participants talking directly to each other and identifying underlying interests or what’s missing. These become the criteria for testing the sustainability of the resolution.
Search stage allows for brainstorming of options for resolution and then tests them against the criteria and determines which are feasible.
Explain captures in writing the details of the plan for the future. It is at this stage that whatever resolution was arrived at is documented with details of who is to do what within stipulated time lines. The resolution is not complete until it has been documented and the agreement signed unto by both parties.