When circleindigo run facilitation skills training programmes we often get asked about different facilitation contexts and whether it’s possible for people in other roles to act as the Facilitator. Whilst we could explore what a Facilitator actually does and does not do, a good start is ‘in what context’?

At circleindigo we mostly operate out if the ‘Process Facilitator’ context where;

  • We are a neutral helper/enabler of the group and do not contribute our own ideas or opinions nor evaluate those of others
  • We work with the client/group to identify and agree purpose and outcomes and agree an agenda and approach
  • We design process for achieving the outcomes
  • We keep the group focused on agreed outcomes and task
  • We suggest methods, tools and techniques for proceeding or creative problem solving
  • We encourage equal participation and contribution
  • We ‘protect’ individuals from personal attack
  • We have no formal power, but are quietly authoritative and operate through situational leadership

So what other facilitation contexts are there in other ‘roles’?

The (Project) Manager/Chairperson as Facilitator may also;

  • Run their own workshops, meetings and sessions
  • Contribute their own ideas and opinions and may well evaluate those of others
  • Keep the group focused and drive them through an agenda from start to finish
  • Actively use facilitative methods
  • Not dominate
  • Co-ordinate actions, plans and follow-up meetings
  • Have final authority if required

The Internal/External Consultant as Facilitator may do the above as well but differences may include;

  • Contributing ideas, external thinking and research, and evaluating the opinions of others and comment
  • Helping the group to achieve it’s purpose and outcomes
  • Providing ‘inputs’ to educate the group/participants
  • Not having formal authority unless acting in a programme/project manager role

And lastly what about the Trainer as Facilitator, differences here include;

  • Planning both process and content for the ‘event’
  • Contributing a high degree of their own ideas and opinions
  • Using facilitative methods, tools and techniques to encourage participation and learning
  • Trying not to dominate too much
  • And may have some kind of formal authority from a ‘training/learning’ perspective

We believe that all of the above roles (and others) can operate in facilitation contexts and can use facilitation skills, tools and techniques and can, most of the time, operate in a ‘substantively neutral’ way in their designated formal roles to encourage participation and contribution, but can also offer content, views, opinions and thinking when necessary or appropriate to do so.

 

 

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  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
  • Government Office for London

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