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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe how coaches of mediators-in-training manage interaction in role-play sessions and help trainees learn about mediation practices. Using a qualitative, discourse analytic approach, we examined role-played mediation sessions where thirteen professional mediators each provided coaching to two pairs of student trainees who had completed training in interest-based mediation (for a total of twenty-six sessions). We argue that the techniques we observed at crucial moments in mediation training seemed designed to improve trainees' understanding of the mediation process but offered limited help in teaching trainees how to enact the communication practices that are essential to mediation. We consider how the demands of giving advice and assessing communication behavior affect what coaches say to trainees in these circumstances.