One of the main differences between mediators in private practice lies in the approach to the mediation process, if they adopt an evaluative or more facilitative approach.
The mediators that maintain a markedly evaluative approach will not hesitate to transmit their views on the conflict and what in their opinion could be an adequate solution to it.
Mediators who are more in a facilitation line can promptly offer a suggestion to help solve specific problems, but their focus will be on helping controversial parties reach their own solutions.
Whatever the nature of your problem, it is crucial that you feel comfortable with the mediator and can develop a sense of trust with him or her. Even over the phone, you should have the feeling that the mediator is really listening to you, and not that you are waiting for him to stop talking.
It is very important that a mediator gives you the impression of being impartial about your conflict. The mediator will listen to you with empathy, but will not take his part despite how convincing the presentation of his position may be. Do not be discouraged by this. While it is understandable that you want an explicit ally in an emotionally harsh situation, it is advisable not to put a mediator in that role. Mediators are able to do a better job if all parties respect them as a neutral figure in the dispute.