For the longest time I thought it was my job as a facilitator to be neutral and impartial. I wasn’t sure I was “doing it right”, when I strengthened one party in a conflict by paraphrasing and helping them be understood, when they were at the disadvantage and I wanted the parties to have equal footing to work things out.
It wasn’t until the workshop with solution-focused coaches Veronika Jungwirth and Ralph Miarka that I learned a new word: Multipartiality (“Allparteilichkeit“).
It means to be able to understand and empathize with each party as needed, to help them phrase and explain their needs.
You expect neutrality from a judge. But mediators and (depending on the situation) facilitators will be more effective with a mindset of multipartiality.
Nowadays, I do not in facilitate meetings in which I know I won’t be able to be multipartial.
PS: Did you know there's a Retromat eBook Bundle? Ready-made retrospective plans for beginners and all activities from Retromat for experienced facilitators. Check out the Retromat books