Choosing the Right Mediator

Not all mediators are the same!  In fact no two mediators are the same.  Each has a different combination of personality, styles, experience, practice areas, knowledge, skills and other competencies. In the right combination, those attributes can greatly maximise the parties' chances of successfully resolving a dispute successfully and quickly.

Often, to choose a mediator, parties have had to rely on recommendations, word of mouth, hearsay and short biographies that usually only capture what mediators think about themselves.  These are useful, but often not objective or reliable, and the selection base can be extremely narrow.  

It is important to remember that all parties need to be able to trust the mediator with a great deal of confidential information - about their case, its strengths and challenges, their bottom lines.  How do you know you can do that - and that the other side can have equal confidence in the mediator to enable the process to work effectively?

IMI Certified Mediators must embed an open Feedback Digest in their Profile.  A Feedback Digest is an independently-prepared summary of what previous users of that mediator's services have said about their performance as a mediator.  The Feedback Digest must be prepared by an identified independent person or institution who must prepare the Digest in accordance with Guidelines prepared by IMI.

The Feedback Digest gives potential users a unique insight into the competencies and characteristics of an individual mediator.  Someone needing a mediator must be able to reassure themselves in advance of making a selection not only that the person is highly competent as a mediator, but also that the individual's personality and other attributes are ideally suited to the case and to the needs and dynamics of all the parties.

The IMI search engine, and the individual Profiles included on it, are designed to take the guesswork, risk and stress out of the mediator selection task and to review a wider choice of alternatives than might otherwise be available.  Use the search parameters on the left side of the search engine to narrow the selection according the required language, style and specific practice area (where you feel that experience and knowledge in a particular field is critical).  This will produce a list of mediators meeting your criteria.  You can change the parameters to view the options based on other criteria.  Then make up a shortlist and compare the Full Profiles of those you have selected.  

When reviewing your shortlist, compare the Feedback Digests - does the prior user feedback reflect exactly what you are looking for?  Would this person be suitable to your dispute as well as competent as a mediator?  Would the other party be likely to share your opinion?  Are there several mediators on the shortlist who would be both competent and suitable?  Would it be worthwhile recommending several alternative mediators to the other side - perhaps even inviting them to select which of them they prefer? (This could make it much easier to get to mediation.)  Also see the IMI Decision Tree.

All this can enable you and the other party in your dispute to take control, select the right mediator and maximise your chances of successfully resolving the dispute.

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