Mediation is a flexible, informal process that can be tailored to the needs of the parties. Some sessions begin by bringing both parties together and allowing each the time to tell their story, while others are conducted with the parties in separate rooms and the mediator going back and forth between them. In joint sessions, mediators often use caucuses to meet individually with each party to have private conversations.
The goal of mediation is to allow the parties to have a guided conversation or for the mediator to be able to share enough information that the parties can work toward a mutually beneficial solution. Mediation can be a place to brainstorm new ideas or to negotiate traditionally, with each party modifying their offers as they gain more information. How the process unfolds is really up to the parties.