So you want to become a facilitator

Facilitation is a skill that goes undetected when done well and is in your face when not.

If I had to choose one business skill above all others it would be facilitation

The definition of facilitation beings a process of enabling things to happen with and through others” – it is firmly outcome focussed

When teams and groups develop the ability to have the right rich productive conversations they can really fly and the energy and focus can be remarkable. Instead many conversations leave people frustrated, passive observers or competing for air space. No one listens, ideas and suggestions are no sooner aired then lost as the next one is aired and lost. People get bruised, back out or shout louder. Side conversations develop as people cannot get heard so find another outlet to express their thoughts.

We can place ourselves on the moon but rarely can we develop the right pattern of conversation to get us to collectively solve issues and develop opportunities.

I still get a deep sense of satisfaction when a group of people start to tune into how to have the right conversations, when the rhythm and pace allows reflection as well as high energy engagement and everyone having a voice.

What does a person need to have a chance of becoming a great facilitator: a few of these would be handy!

  • Grounded – leaves ego behind
  • Insight in behaviour and impact
  • Presence
  • Energy
  • Flexible
  • Courageous
  • Skilled at presenting material
  • Top class communication skills
  • Active listener
  • Abundance of tools and techniques
  • Can deal with emotion

It is about seeing yourself as a vehicle to assist others to get from point 1 to 2. Constant attention to the needs and dynamics of the people in front of you. Putting yourself aside, total selflessness and never entering into the “my opinion game” where you put yourself at the same level and compete with them for air space. Neutral, calm, full of alternative ideas and means for the people with you to process the task and themselves to conclusion.

The four core capabilities are:

  •  Building and maintaining rapport between the facilitator and group members and between group members
  • Active listening and observing of group and individual behaviours
  • Masterly questioning to draw out and explore issues with the group
  • Effectively managing the information derived from the facilitation process

You can choose to be a passive facilitator, intervening to help steer and keep on track when needed. This often happens when a member of the team working on the task gets stuck and someone temporarily  steps outside the role to help them get back

  • Low key presence
  • Can be chosen at the event
  • Intervenes only when necessary
  • Operates with the permission of the group
  • Does not get involved in task
  • Is very effective for high performing teams
  • Can be a member of the team
  • Usually provides a review only at the request of the chairperson

Or you can be an active facilitator

  • Helps plan & design the event
  • Works closely with the leader
  • Leads the event from the front (high profile)
  • Constantly monitors progress and has alternative methods to hand
  • Is not usually a member of the team
  • Has learned passive facilitation first
  • Opens and closes the event
  • Provides feedback on group interaction

More blogs to follow hope this was of interest….



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