This is not always the case. For example, there can be court ordered mediations. These result either in the case proceeding to trial or a stipulation. A stipulation is an agreement between the parties, presented to the court, and accepted into the record. This means if the agreement is breached, there are consequences which can be ordered by the Judge.
Mediation is intended to be fairly informal and is typically run by mediation experts, retired Judges, or experienced or retired attorneys. The person running the mediation, the Mediator, is there to facilitate communication and to try to help the parties understand the situation from the other party’s view. A professional, trained, mediator may cost a decent amount of money, their help can limit litigation costs, which could be exorbitant otherwise.
For meditation to work, both parties need to be willing to compromise. In coming to the compromise it is possible for a better solution to be found. In trial or some other forms of dispute resolution, one party “wins” and the other party “loses.” That does not necessarily mean the party “wins” everything they asked for and it may not feel satisfying.
By coming together with the help of someone trained to support and entice communication, a result where both parties walk away “happy” can be achieved. Keep in mind happiness is not guaranteed, though both parties can “win” in mediation.
Determining if mediation is the right path for you depends on a number of factors. However, the biggest one is you. If you can reflect on the issues and come to a position, you may find that you are willing to compromise and mediation may help you. On the other hand, if you are not willing to talk, mediation will not help at this moment. If you are facing a dispute, you should probably contact an attorney.