Mediation is used regularly in family law to attempt to reach a solution between parties. People often have experience with mediation in their daily lives as well; such as working as the "go-between" with family or co-workers to resolve a dispute or make an important decision. Often one parent has to work as the neutral between the other parent and a child to resolve some issue between them. Perhaps you have been the mediator and have helped two co-workers communicate about some dispute that arose between them.
Formal mediators can come from a variety of backgrounds. Some mediators may not have legal or specialized advanced training, but many mediators are attorneys and former judges.
There are several different styles of mediation and mediators can take approaches from all styles of mediation to help parties reach a resolution to their dispute. Often the parties and issues present will help dictate what style of mediation will be used.