Advanced Facilitation

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success"

To bring people together, keep them together and see them through to achieving a successful result is the key focus of true facilitation. The capable facilitator works with the individual and collective personalities within the group to seamlessly guide them from initiation to success with minimum of intervention and maximum motivation. This workshop focuses on active facilitation which involves a broad range of skills and builds on the foundations laid in our workshop on facilitation and effective meeting management.

Facilitation skills can only be truly learned and mastered through practice and repetition and participation levels in this workshop are high. As far as practicable the workshop will embrace the needs and challenges of individual participants and will encourage them to successfully work through fears and concerns whilst in a safe non threatening environment.

The pace, focus and breadth of each session will depend on the participants' requirements and experience, and any agreements with the client prior to the event.

Gives details of all the standard sessions, however we are always happy to customise this workshop to meet your specific needs.

Duration

Typically 2 days

Workshop Outline

Introduction

The workshop launches at a brisk pace with the opening designed to allow participants time to settle in and adapt to the learning environment as quickly as possible. Expectations are discussed and set with workshop operating principles being identified and agreed by all. Participants are encouraged to closely observe the workshop facilitator throughout the two days and are invited to stop and question whenever they feel the need.

This is definitely not a work shop based on "Chalk & Talk", the experience whilst designed to be challenging is also all embracing and supportive.

A bit about facilitation

Before charging into an action packed event, we first place the skills and process of facilitation in context, what is it really all about and what does successful facilitation look like.

Contracting and identification of goals

Before any facilitated event takes place, its purpose and desired outcome must be clearly identified between the facilitator and the people being facilitated. It is deceptively easy to get into a situation where purpose, resource availability and desired outcome are so ambiguous that failure is guaranteed. To build credibility with any group, having a clear mandate is a prerequisite.

Establish and maintain credibility

Establishing credibility as a facilitator is a challenge. This is where we leave the realm of passive facilitation behind and move into the more high profile world of active facilitation. Get it wrong and the chance of the group succeeding under your guidance becomes very difficult indeed. The locus of control in facilitation is a fine art and is what can make facilitation such a rewarding activity. Real gems and insights abound here - we have to do this for a living!

Assessing group dynamics and climate

When working with a group of people a facilitator has to quickly assess and influence the individual and group dynamic. Easier said than done. There's a lot of them and one of you. Proven ways of successfully doing this time after time are revealed. Intelligent observation is also covered at this time.

Intervention without wounding

Interactions with the group have to be as fine as silk and as strong as steel, not much to ask really. Constantly stopping and starting a group is debilitating for all concerned, redirection is the key word here and to do this successfully the facilitator has to have a clear picture of what is happening now and an even clearer picture of what is required next. Re direction without aim can be confusing.

Balance is the key and here we will provide the stabilisers

Energisers and icebreakers

Building and maintaining high energy levels within a group is an expected facilitator role, the competent facilitator will also know when and how to cool the room without using the air conditioning or cold water and be able to induce reflection and quiet conversation for the more serious moments.

Involvement through instruction and debrief

Encouraging the involvement of all concerned is partly achieved through the ability to give clear instruction and take a concise debrief. It is surprisingly difficult to give a clear and executable instruction but fear not, the wheel has been invented, there are proven ways to do this and they are revealed with hopefully some clarity.

Using props

Just when you think you have it all under control, the laptop fails or the flip chart runs out of paper. Props can be great support and a threat to your credibility at the same time, practice with them is built in here, there are right and wrong ways of using props they are not inanimate object when you are facilitating.

The phases of group development

All groups tend to follow the same general path when developing and being able to understand this gives the facilitator welcome extra tool in the box. Recognising the phases and the associated behaviours allows the facilitator to monitor the progress of group relationships - without involving the group!

Dealing with barriers to agreement

One of the more frequent challenges a facilitator faces is the "unable to agree" barrier. Tools, techniques and methods for overcoming the impasse are tabled and reviewed. Base ball bats are discouraged.

Preparing for facilitation

Now some of the tips and tools are known this session provides some typical facilitation scenarios and guides the development of robust plans for facilitating people through them.

The right closure

The discipline of closing sessions successfully is much underrated and can have a huge impact on the credibility of the facilitator. If it is going well close it on time - if it is not going well resist the urge to finish too early. Plan the ending well and time it. This often overlooked element of facilitation is covered - where else? At the end of course!

From workshop to workplace

Participants conduct a formal review of their own contribution to the learning experience and the quality of the workshop and materials.