Why are facilitators like Penguins?
For both penguins and facilitators what lies beneath the tip of the iceberg is a world of discovery.
The tip of the iceberg represents what we know and can touch in any session – the content of the discussion and the methods we are using to help bring clarity, define issues and solve challenges.
The remaining seventy five percent is in the planning, understanding and interventions we make to help groups work effectively together, born out of an understanding of group dynamics and group problem solving where psycho-social issues, past conflicts, decision making authority, leadership and group maturity can all impact on progress.
Facilitation helps to explore hidden depths within teams and organisations, bringing issues, opportunities, ideas, risks and potential to the surface…imagine the impact.
What is Facilitation?
The Latin word for “easy,” is facilis. You can see this origin in facilitation, which means “the act of making something easier.”
The concepts of facilitation and the facilitator are not new; however, the values, roles, skills and tools of facilitation are becoming more widely adopted as organisations begin to appreciate and seize the value of participative approaches in harnessing the experience, insights, energy and commitment of the whole group and its members.
What does a skilled professional facilitator offer?
A professional facilitator brings many things with them including; a deep belief in the wisdom and creativity of people; the ability to listen openly and actively and to suspend judgement. Facilitators model respect for individuals and their experience; demonstrate patience and a tolerance for ambiguity to allow issues to surface, people to share and decisions to evolve. Facilitators also bring with them skills to support inter and intrapersonal effectiveness and collaborative problem solving; they have a deep knowledge of group dynamics and the confidence to intervene or to surface issues that hinder group effectiveness and support a group to resolve them. Facilitators have a rich knowledge of a range of tools to support different types of thinking, organising and planning, they bring structure whilst remaining flexible. What is more, facilitators create safety for groups to explore, exchange, discuss, disagree, create and decide a way forward.
Why invite a facilitator to work with you?
There are many reasons why inviting a facilitator who is external to your department or your organisation can be helpful. Having a professional who is skilled in matching meeting design and methodologies with your meeting objectives and who has skills, confidence and experience that are trusted by the group to manage the meeting process and emerging dynamics has to be a great start! Facilitators have been likened to a conductor of an orchestra, the group brings with it the musicians, the instruments and the desire to play music and the facilitator provides the score, turning up or down the volume, pace and contribution of different instruments to get the best possible output from the group. Music to any managers ears!
Using a facilitator to design and facilitate your meeting or event will:
- Allow you to be a participant and keep your attention on the content not the structure
- Provide a clear pathway towards meeting objectives and a clear record of progress
- Manage the people and their contributions in a neutral and balanced environment getting the most out of everyone
- Manage conflict as and when it arises in the group
- Use tools to maximise meeting effectiveness, adding focus, energy and fun to the process
- Result in decisions that are supported and with a clear plan of action