Appointing a Reviewer

The Feedback Digest is an essential part of any IMI Certified Profile, and appears under the 'reviews' tab on both Mediator and Mediation Advocate profiles.  It is likely to be used by anyone considering appointing you as their Mediator or Advocate.  On this page you will find information about how to appoint your Reviewer, tips for requesting feedback, and model emails for use when requesting feedback.

Feedback Digest IMI Guidelines for Reviewers

Appointing a Reviewer

Your Reviewer is responsible for preparing, uploading, and updating your Feedback Digest in accordance with IMI's Guidelines, and also assists you in defining your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs and interests.  Your Reviewer is not responsible for requesting reviews from the people for whom you mediate; they simply receive, collate, and summarise those reviews into a 'Feedback Digest'.

Everyone has different CPD needs and interests. Your Reviewer should be well-placed to offer suggestions about CPD opportunities which may generate the most value for your professional practice as a mediator, partly through having access to the raw feedback on your mediation practice.  IMI does not require a minimum number of CPD hours, and believes that the CPD activities you undertake are best planned and executed in consultation with your Reviewer.  You are not required to report these details to IMI, though you may wish to update the 'Education and Training' section of your profile.

Your Reviewer may be an individual or an institution.  Individuals should be a practising mediator, trainer, educator, or other highly experienced professional (or ‘elder’) in the mediation field.  They must not be a member of your family, or someone who is subordinate to you in your organization.  You may also select a dispute resolution institution or other professional body in the dispute resolution field to be your Reviewer.  Do bear in mind that your Reviewer is listed on your profile, and the credibility of your Feedback Digest will in part be determined by the credibility of your Reviewer.

Ideal Reviewers are other IMI Certified Mediators, and institutions recognized by IMI as appointing their mediation panel members on the basis of competency.  For credibility reasons, please avoid reciprocal Reviewer arrangements, i.e. where Mediator A appoints Mediator B as Reviewer, and Mediator B appoints Mediator A as Reviewer.

You are responsible for discussing and settling any fees your Reviewer may charge for acting as your Reviewer and preparing your Feedback Digest. It is recommended that you meet your Reviewer periodically to discuss your mediation practice and your CPD interests.

Tips for Requesting Feedback

Many professional mediators may have never asked for feedback before, be nervous about asking for it, or are not sure how to approach the subject.  Offering a feedback questionnaire at the end of a mediation can, if not handled correctly, appear bureaucratic, and be ignored.

Other mediators have had a great deal of success in getting users to provide feedback, and IMI asked them to share their successful methods, to help other IMI Certified Mediators.

 

1.  Say up front that you will offer a feedback questionnaire at the end of the mediation

Consider mentioning at the outset of the mediation that you would appreciate everyone involved completing a feedback questionnaire at the end, and briefly explain why.

2. Explain the purpose of feedback

Feedback enables future users of your services as a mediator to get a better understanding of how you mediate.  Each feedback questionnaire is used by an independent Reviewer to help them build an anonymized Feedback Digest that forms part of your online IMI Certified Mediator Profile that future users can read.

3. Be serious about the importance of the Feedback Questionnaire

If you make it sound like a bureaucratic chore or wasteful paperwork then it won’t be treated seriously by the user and will either not be filled in, or the input will most likely be useless.

4. Give a time frame for completion

The best feedback happens soon after the event, when the experience is still fresh and before people have moved on.  Try to set an early date for it to be returned and send a reminder if it does not arrive by that date.

5. Assure anonymity for the feedback provider

Assure the person or people completing the feedback questionnaire that their name will not be used in any public context and will be known only to yourself and your Reviewer.  Offer the opportunity not to include name and contact details on the questionnaire, but consider adding that it will help the Reviewer in case a question arises.

6. Provide a return envelope

The simple inclusion of a stamped envelope (addressed either to your Reviewer or to yourself) psychologically makes it easier for the task to be completed.

7. Ask if the feedback provider will take a call from your Reviewer

If you encounter resistance to the idea of filling in a form, it may help if you ask whether a follow-up call from your Reviewer would be acceptable.

8. Pick a good moment

If a mediation ends late at night when participants are exhausted or in other circumstances when the last thing people want to hear is a request to complete a feedback questionnaire, don’t mention it until you have an opportunity to send it as an email attachment a few days later.  Conversely, many mediations have “dead time”, especially towards the end of the process, when some technicality or a draft document is being prepared, and this can be a good moment to engage people productively in completing the questionnaire.

9. Provide a print of your Feedback Digest to date

This helps users understand its purpose.

10. Keep in mind the “other” values of the Feedback Digest

Namely that it is probably the best possible credible marketing of your skills, that it provides transparency and gives confidence in your skills and experience.

Model Emails for Requesting Feedback
Below are two model emails used by members of the IMI Independent Standards Commission to ask parties for feedback. Feel free to adapt these to your needs. 
Dear …………. I am a member of the Independent Standards Commission of the International Mediation Institute.  The IMI has an international scheme for the certification of mediators.  It is important to me personally to support that initiative, because it provides vital information about mediators which can assist users of their mediation services in the future. An essential part of the certification process is that each mediator appoints an independent "Reviewer" who undertakes to prepare and keep updated a digest of feedback from prior users. This 'Feedback Digest' is then available to any future user who is selecting a mediator. I wonder if I could ask you to take a few minutes (no more than 5-10!) to complete a feedback questionnaire for me?  The Feedback questionnaire – and more information - can be found at: http://imimediation.org/feedback-request-form I would ask you to return the questionnaire to me directly, as I have undertaken to collect the feedback for my Reviewer in the first instance. I shall send the completed form to the Reviewer who will keep it in confidence. If you are able to do this, I shall be grateful. This is part of a concerted effort to raise and maintain standards among mediators on a worldwide level for the benefit of future users of mediation services. Kind regards John Sturrock QC Chief Executive Core Solutions Group Limited Rutland House 19 Rutland Square Edinburgh EH1 2BB Tel: +44 (0) 131 221 2520
Dear former mediation participant, I have a request to ask of you.  As well as running my mediation practice, you may be aware that I am active Australia-wide in encouraging mediators to be more explicitly accountable to mediation participants.  For example, both as Chair of LEADR and as a member of NADRAC, I have been closely involved with the establishment of the National Mediator Accreditation System in Australia. I am also a member of the Independent Standards Commission of the International Mediation Institute [IMI] which has an international scheme for the certification of mediators. IMI has introduced a feedback scheme which gives you the opportunity to have your comments made available anonymously to other potential clients of my mediation practice.  I regard this scheme as important, because while it maintains your privacy it overcomes difficulties for prospective participants who want to find out yours and other participants’ opinions about their experiences of mediation. In the IMI certification process, each mediator appoints an experienced, independent ‘Reviewer’ who prepares and updates a continuous summary of feedback from participants in mediation. This ‘Feedback Digest’ is then available on the IMI website (www.imimediation.org) for anyone who is selecting a mediator. I would appreciate it if you would take 5 – 10 minutes to complete a Feedback Request Form for me.  The form may be downloaded from www.imimediation.org/feedback-request-form, and is attached for your convenience. My Reviewer is Christopher Stevenson, who as well as being a highly experienced mediator before becoming a judge, is active in a number of mediation committees. I would be grateful if you would return your completed Feedback Request Form to Christopher Stevenson at [email protected]  Chris Stevenson will:
  • treat your feedback with complete confidence
  • summarise your feedback
  • remove identifying information
  • integrate the summary into other summaries to form the ‘Feedback Digest’
  • upload the ‘Feedback Digest’ to my profile on the IMI website
  • periodically discuss the summarised ‘Feedback Digest’ with me
Thank you for considering this request. Yours sincerely Margaret Halsmith Director & Principal Mediator Halsmith Consulting Pty Ltd