Thanks for submitting your question today. Generally what will occur is first the mediator will want a synopsis of the issues of fact and law in the matter from each party. The mediator will then want to meet witht the parties individually to discuss their perceptions of their strengths and weaknesses of the matter. The meditaor may also individually point out to a party what he or she percieves as a strength or weakness of a party; and may convey the same to the other party.
Ultimately however, the mediator will attempt to get from the parties a range of settlement (whether it be $ or doing a certain thing). The mediator is going to attempt to put together a deal or dollar figure (or even a range of dollar figure) in which he or she believes the parties may come to an agreement. The mediator also will likely have a fairly rational explanation as to why the deal should be accpeted. It's completely voluntary amongst the parties to reject any proposal or not, but as the mediator generally will explain, a deal that parties are able to strike on their own is almost always preferrable to one that a court will fashion for the parties; i.e., at least you get some choice as to the outcome.
It may sound fairly straight forward, but my experience with mediation is that 1) whether a deal will be struck depends on how hard the mediator work to find the parties' motivations adn to explain the potential consequences of not settling the particular matter; 2) whether a party can remove his or her emotion from the process.
I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – select the Reply to Expert or Continue Conversation button. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.