Some mediators prefer one approach exclusively, while others use a variety of styles or an amalgam of both styles, depending on the actual case. I think that a mediator should use the best approach for the particular case. I will be as evaluative as the parties want me to be. If I am asked to provide an evaluative opinion, I will do that in private in a separate caucus with each party.
My role is not to tell you what will happen or what you should do. Instead, I tell you what might happen and what other options are available by way of settlement. I try to give you a neutral point of view that you can use in making the best decision for you. No-one can tell you, for sure, what will happen at trial. Any experienced litigator will tell you that anything can happen at trial. Hopefully, a neutral evaluation will be a useful part of the discussion about the benefits of settlement as opposed to the risks of trial.