Selecting competent facilitators and mediators


work in progress

Finding and appointing competent facilitators and mediators

It is no easy task to find a consultant who you can confidently ask to facilitate a difficult meeting or workshop. While there are many professional facilitators who are able to lead workshops, there are not many who possess the skills to deal with tension, resistance and conflict should these arise during a meeting. 

On this page you can read more about


Terms of Reference for Facilitators and Mediators


When hiring a facilitator or mediator to act as an independent third party in conflicts or conversations, Terms of reference need to be drawn up.

Here is a short guide on drawing up the terms of reference with examples.


State clearly what it is that you want the facilitator or mediator to do

For example: The regional authority in xx is seeking a qualified [mediator/facilitator/process leader] to [state what it is you want the person to do]


Describe the project or process and the context within which it is set.


State the overall objective of the meeting/workshop or process.

List what you hope the event/s will achieve


What is the consultant expected to do?

For example: The consultant will be responsible for the overall delivery of the workshop. The work will include but may not be limited to the following tasks:

  • Familiarise with project materials
  • Prepare workshop/meeting agenda in consultation with X
  • Prepare workshop/meeting materials and provide X  with required list of supplies for the workshop
  • Contribute to X’s organisation and planning of the workshops/meetings, as needed
  • Lead workshop/meeting, acting as lead facilitator
  • Facilitate all of the sessions and transitions between sessions
  • Remain engaged and interact regularly with the teams throughout the workshops
  • Ensure that platform for multi-stakeholder discussion is created
  • Ensure that participants are involved in making joint decisions or reaching agreements
  • Clearly record agreements, proposals or decisions arising from workshops/meetings
  • Develop workshop/meeting summary report in communication with X


Clearly state how many days/hours the facilitator/mediator will be contracted for and what it includes. Then specify what needs to be done by which date.

An example: The consultant will be contracted for x full days, including travel. The followings are the deliverable due dates:

Deliverable Due Date
Preparation of workshop
Facilitation of workshop
Meeting summaries
Summary report First Draft
Summary report Final


Here it is important to consider the levels of complexity and tension/conflict present in the issues that will be discussed. The Dialogue Triage is a helpful tool to assess this. The more tension there is, the more important it is to include conflict management experience in the list of qualifications. If the issue is very complex it would be wise to consider somebody with experience of dealing with such issues too.

Here are some examples for facilitators

Proven ability and experience in workshop/meeting facilitation

Strong verbal and written communication skills
Excellent presentation skills
Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Ability to deal with tension that arises during meetings

A thorough understanding of complex problems
Knowledge of the topic is an asset

And for mediators

Proven ability to mediate in conflict situations

Ability to deal with conflicts in groups

Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Ability to draft agreements and summarise outcomes of meetings

An understanding of complex conflicts and how to approach them
Knowledge of the topic is an asset


What is the daily/hourly rate that and additional costs that are covered.


Decide if you wish to receive any of the following written documents:

  • A description of the consultant’s qualifications and experience (CV)
  • Proposed methodology (which could include tools and techniques that will be used)
  • A cost proposal if none is specified above
  • Contact details of references


Finally state how you would like to receive the application and by when.

  • By post
  • Electronically – email or other


What happens after applications have been reviewed? Is there a process that is followed, interviews held, etc.?