Compromising and collaborating can have similar outcomes when applied to the mediation process, each helps disputing parties meet their individual goals. But while the ideas are similar, they’re not interchangeable. One key difference is this: when parties compromise, they have only some of their individual goals and needs met; but when parties collaborate, each party’s expectations and conditions are fully met.
Total satisfaction for both parties is possible using a collaboration model throughout a mediation, by expanding the dispute into more developed issues, often resulting in multiple possible solutions unique to each party. Whereas a compromise, while extremely useful, aims to split the differences and, essentially, the solutions.
In order for collaboration to be successful, each party should completely disclose his or her goals to the mediator, who will forge a variety of paths toward total resolution.