10 facts about facilitation

1 Facilitators are not trainers

The training provides theory, information and activities to share and help retain the information. On the other hand, process facilitation is about helping the thinking in a group. The main difference is in almost simplistic terms: training is about learning and facilitation is about thinking.

2 Facilitation is like oil to mechanical parts

To facilitate is “to make easy” or “ease a process.”

3 It comes with a toolbox of techniques

Group agreement, idea storms, paired listening, simulations and spectrum lines are some of the techniques used by facilitators to promote group decision making and cohesion.

4 A facilitator knows how to use their toolbox

Every group is different and some techniques may simply be inappropriate for a certain group. A facilitator will explain the purpose of the technique before asking that it be used bz the group. A facilitator will not force a technique on a group or individual, but let each person determine the extent of their own eagerness to participate.

5 Facilitators frequently act ‘in the moment’

Though the toolbox of techniques is always at the facilitator’s disposal, they are almost meaningless without a facilitator who is fully present and engaged to employ them when necessary.

6 Running toward conflict

Facilitators don’t shy away from conflict; they understand it to be a normal aspect of interaction and at the same time, if utilised, the greatest opportunity for learning.

7 Trust in the facilitator leads to rapport in the group

Trust in the facilitator contributes to trust in the process. This begs the question, how does one build trust in what tends to be such a short space of time? Personally, through honest, sincerety and transparency. If obstables still remain with particular members of the group, or around a specific issue, the decision becomes about whether to step back or closer. Unfortunately, there is no fixed formula for success other than trial and error.

8 Facilitation requires active listening, patience and calm

9 Great leaders are facilitators

Leaders who are good facilitators identify and promote other facilitators.

10 Facilitators may already exist in your team

This last one is similar to the last. At your next meeting, take a look around the boardroom; there may be someone on your team who is already a talented facilitator. If you are of the view you have good management, skilled facilitation is likely a key characteristic. Beyond the top brass, look to zour colleagues. Part of whether you recognise their ability comes down to whether your work environment is enabling of individual skills. Again, this is influenced by mangement.

If the above boxes are ticked and you are still not certain, consider whether you have some facilitator blood in your bones. Do you observe the interaction around the water cooler and immediately see beyond to the dynamics, the underlzing biases, the tension and emotion? The facilitator in your team my very well be you!

Sources

https://northstarfacilitators.com/2017/02/5-big-differences-between-training-and-facilitation/ https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/RoleofAFacilitator.htm https://seedsforchange.org.uk/tools.pdf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3340924/