Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0141 | February 24, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...


Dear friends,

I find the cultivation and use of my intuition as a facilitator and coach to be one of my greatest life tools. There are a lot of different ideas floating around about this subject. What is intuition? Can it be trusted? How do we cultivate it? How can we use it effectively as facilitators?

This week's article, "The Intuitive Facilitator," attempts to answer some of these questions and may perhaps leave you with some new ones as well. Personally, I see intuition as our connection to the field of all possibilities and all knowing. If this is true, then the ability to "query" this field with the appropriate questions may be an important skill to cultivate. So in the spirit of inquiry, I asked several of my facilitator colleagues about their views on intuition and would like to thank them for their generous contributions. They are: Rita Devloo, Carl Diershow, Philippa Furey, Kathy Mallary, Christie Mason, Charlotte Mordini, and Jim Smith.

Also, please note our resource, "The Intuitive Way," by Penney Peirce as a great resource for further exploring this topic and developing your intuitive skills. Also, we're pleased to announce the first teleclass in our Facilitation Expert Series cohosted by Penney Peirce on March 4th at 1PM EST. Please see details below.

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please email them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

Facilitator News


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Group Management Skill
The Intuitive Facilitator
The Point


My inquiry into the concept and practice of intuition among my peers led to many interesting responses. I've organized these questions and their responses below in a way I hope you'll find useful.

What is intuition?

Intuition:
1. a. The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition. b. Knowledge gained by the use of this faculty; a perceptive insight. 2. A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.


It's the part of me that speaks to possibility. It's the part that pays attention to not just what is, but what might be? It's the part of me that asks questions in the moment. Where is this activity, discussion, exercise heading right now? How are people responding? Does this feel like the right course to take, or should I choose another?

Intuition is a "gut feel," a "sense," a "knowing," that may not be supported with logic.

It's about trusting what I've learned and experienced, with a little bit of self control. The "self control" comes from asking the questions:

- Is this an area in which I know I'm weak and possibly mis-directed?
- Am I advancing the goals of the situation? (group, coaching client, etc.)
- Could I possibly be generating conflict or creating unwanted disturbance?

For me, these questions are so internalized that I can usually answer them within a second or two. It's my "gut feel" about whether I'm doing the right thing.

I believe intuition is evidence of the connection between me and the Consciousness that created me. It's communication on all levels; it's what I hear when I listen with my heart. I don't mean that in a sentimental or 'soft' way, but rather, expansively and courageously being willing to consider that I can't think of everything or notice everything with just my brain (there's a reason my brain is encased in a box!). Through intuition, I can be aware of 'more' of what's available, coming through all of my senses, without the limiting filter of logic, judgment, or reasoned thinking. This is a very valuable tool available the facilitator.

How does one typically receive intuition?

Through active listening. By noticing the emotion and the energy in the room. By intensely paying attention on multiple levels to what is happening for the participants.

It seems to be a non-localized, very simple and sudden inspiration or insight; it's like the feeling you get when you want to shift position to be more comfortable. You can feel the shift coming; it feels like a pulling or prompting, a subtle encouragement to move. The sensation lasts only for a moment, regardless of what I decide to do about it after my brain gets hold of it.

I receive intuition first of all via a "feeling" that either something doesn't add up despite it looking OK on the surface or, something does add up (seems to be the right way to go) even though logic would say otherwise.

Intuition seems to show up for people in different ways. For some, it's a physical feeling in the gut, for others a vague prickle on the skin somewhere, for others it may seem like a direct knowing.

Intuition has a lot to do with trust. If you don't trust that your intuition is available to you whenever you need it, it's as if you closed the door to that resource. Intuition is the trust that all you know, all you have experienced, all you have heard and seen is there for you. The process of intuition is the alchemy of this knowing and experience that makes it possible to do the right intervention at the right time. Intuition works best when you are in a state of "'flow."

Intuition sometimes comes to us when we're in action, often coming to meet us when we express the courage to act boldly without exactly knowing what we're going to do. In the action lies the answer.

Application


How can we best use intuition as facilitators?

I use it to course correct, to change activities on the fly (shorten them, lenghten them, dump them, make them up in the moment). I check in with my client at the next pause or break to find out if what I am feeling is a good read on the group. My intuition may not always be right or appropriate to act upon, so I get validation to help me make better decisions from it.

I've learned to pay attention to it, and to risk trusting it, even when I don't understand it. I let my coaching clients and my students know that I do this and that I'm not attached to being "right," but rather, to being receptive. Many times they make sense from it, even when it makes no sense to me. I've decided that sometimes the meaning of my intuition is really none of my business! What's important is that I can use it as a resource to help me stay present and tuned into my clients and students so that I'm fully engaged in providing the coaching and facilitation that is called for, rather than limiting it to what I "think" they should get. Coaching and facilitation are much more fun, enjoyable, and effective when I'm coming from this place, rather than trying to force an outcome or operating from "up in my head."

As a facilitator, intuition helps me assess the group processes, determine when to change its direction or my approach, guides me to helping the group move forward, leads me to ask the tough questions, gives me insight into what the group may need or how and where the group may be going. Ignoring me intuition usually results in inflexible processes and results

Intuition is linked to trust for me as a facilitator. I love people. I find them amazing and I love their varying energies and personalities. They all fascinate me. And, I think that I build rapport and trust so that I am open to subtle changes in energies, emotions, and moods that cannot be "'seen" or described, just felt. As a facilitator, this means that I can send and receive messages on a non-verbal level--an understanding is built--and energies are recognized sooner than if I were waiting for direct verbal or even visual messages.

When I work with individuals or groups I prepare carefully everything that is needed, but then I let it go. When I start working I am focused on the other(s), what happens to them, between them, and in relation to myself. At the same time, I am self-aware, grounded and relaxed. The interventions I make based on my intuition sometimes surprise me. Afterwards I try to understand how I came to this intervention and how effective it was.

Sometimes the "gut feel" is misinformed. So part of using intuition is to carefully listen for feedback after I've taken action, to see if I've done something wrong. I often test my intuition by challenging my client with a questions such as, "I'm sensing that you're avoiding talking about X." Here are some important points about this approach:

- By saying "I'm sensing that..." I'm indicating that I might well be wrong.
- I'm also indicating that it's only my observation, which may not be what the client's experiencing. If I want to challenge the client further I might ask, "What would happen if other people observed that too?"
- I'm trying to be as non-judgmental as possible.

The critical thing here is to deeply listen to what the client says next. She might be silent, or dismiss the observation, or argue with it, or avoid it entirely. But any one of those responses gives me immediate feedback about whether my intuition was correct, and what I can learn from it.

Here's a Story to illustrate this point during a meeting I led a couple of years ago
...

We had a diverse set of people who were focusing on brainstorming and organizing, and I had a process that had worked well before. One of the key influencers in the group said, "Gee, Carl, every time we do this you approach it the same way. I'm getting tired of it. How about if we did it differently?"

At that point I realized I'd fallen into a pattern of convenience, and had a quick decision to make about whether to redirect the process. I asked the group as a whole whether they would support doing this. Fortunately my "gut feel" to their responses helped me understand that there was little danger in redirecting and that I would gain the enthusiastic support of this key person if I supported her suggestion. So we changed the process right there, and things worked out great. My intuition was telling me that although the approach was different than I had planned, that I would create more total positive energy in the group by supporting the change. I quickly analyzed the change and decided that it would reach the same goals.

And, of course, I was tuned in during the rest of the meeting to sense whether we would go off-course, or people would feel disenfranchised by the new approach. But everything turned out great, there were no surprises.

How can one further develop intuition as a skill?

Don't judge, don't assume. Be open, listen, pause and check in, reflect, be more aware of your own responses, feelings, and inner sensations.

Be open, patient, and set aside your ego as best you can. The more you practice trusting, acting upon, and assessing the results of using your intuition, the more powerful this resource will become. But the key is trust and believing.

Incorporate internal practices such as meditation, affirmations, surrender, and loving and trusting yourself and your inner promptings.

Acting on your intuition often requires that you take a risk sharing something or doing something for whose purpose you don't quite understand. This takes courage. You can get better at this by practicing releasing your need to be right, and/or give yourself permission to be wrong!

I often ask my clients to imagine that their intuition has shape, form and texture, and then describe it in detail; what does it sound like, where do they feel it in their body; what color is it; what is the texture, temperature and tone? I encourage them to keep track of their intuitive 'hits', to pay attention to when and where they show up. It isn't about proving it right or wrong, but about developing the skill of subtle perception.

Become an intensely active listener, on all levels. Listen beyond the words. Listen to tone, notice body language patterns, degrees of engagement, listen to the buzz in the room. Pay attention to what is working for a group and what's not. Risk going "off script" every once in awhile and notice what happens. When you notice a feeling in your gut, check it out with your group or with someone your trust. Eventually, you'll learn what feelings to respond to, and which you can ignore.

Action

What can you do to fine tune your intuition? What action can you take this week to tap into your intuitive resources further? What question is really bugging you that you'd be willing to surrender to your intuitive guidance? Please
email us your thoughts on this topic.

Facilitation Expert Series


Facilitation Micro-Skills Seminar. Featuring Penney
Peirce, Author of the "Intuitive Way," professional "expert intuitive.

Attend this one-hour teleclass with Steve Davis and Penney Peirce where we'll discuss the use of Intuition as a Facilitator on Thursday, March 4th at 1:00 PM EST (NY Time). Some of the questions we'll discuss are...

What is the source of intuition?
Why do some of our intuitions not pan out as we think they will?
What causes distortion or inaccuracy in our intuition? How can you tell if you're just making up an answer?
How do you see the difference between an emotional decision and an intuitive one?
How does intuition operate in our different perceptual channels, i.e. mental, emotional, sensate?
What can we do to cultivate our ability to receive and use our intuition?
How can facilitators employ intuition in their work?
Is there a specific technique that works to help us trust our intuition?
Bring your questions and get them answered.

Click here for details and registration.

Resource

The Intuitive Way: A Guide to Living from Inner Wisdom, by Penney Peirce, Carol Adrienne

I wrote The Intuitive Way after over 20 years experience working with creativity, metaphysics, psychology and cross-cultural spirituality. I've worked in business and as a professional "expert intuitive," doing thousands of Life Path Readings all over the world. My book is designed to give you a thorough experience of the sequence of steps one goes through on the journey into intuitive awareness. If you follow the ten chapters and do the exercises, you will develop much greater skill and clarity in your perception. My book is different from many others currently available, in that I deal with the Hero's Journey into the underworld--as a NATURAL part of the process of intuition development, and give methods for effectively navigating the subconscious mind. I differentiate between the intuitive process and psychism, which I believe is just a small part of intuition. As I wrote The Intuitive Way, I had a little sign up next to my computer: "Every paragraph must be compassionate." I invite you to experience more depth in life by exploring your own wondrous, unknown regions, and by trusting your inner voice and the truth and anxiety signals you get from your body. Intuition is truly a path to an integrated, creative life.

 
 
In the Spotlight
AppreciativeInquiry
A Provocative Proposal for Unleashing the Power of What Works...

Join us for this 4-week TeleClass with AI experts, Patricia Clason and Bert Stitt starting March 17th, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST

Description

This four session series on Appreciative Inquiry, is a facilitation strategy for intentional change that identifies the best of "what is" in order to pursue dreams and possibilities of "what could be." Within these classes we will explore the four dynamics of AI: Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery. Plan to bring with you the challenges you have encountered or are experiencing in the group/organizational change process. These one-hour sessions will be interactive and we will encourage discussion of specific situations in which Appreciate Inquiry might be applied.

The Eight Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry,

Explore the nature of assumptions in an organization/group. We will define and discuss the base assumptions of AI, how they affect the change process and how we may have experienced them already in our facilitation practice.

The Six Core Principles of Appreciative Inquiry,

Understanding the DNA of Appreciative Inquiry gives us a foundation upon which we can build the infrastructure of a change process that works.

The Five Steps to Appreciative Inquiry,

From designing an appreciative question to creating a provocative proposal and manifesting a destiny, each step is crucial to the process of Appreciative Inquiry. We get to incorporate the "buzzwords" of the last decade, Innovation, Empowerment, Continuous Leaning, Partnership, and Making A Difference, into a process of change that is FUN! Imagine the possibilities!

Outcomes and Opportunities (one month after the first three classes),

This session will be a celebration of learning about what worked and what didn't work for class participants as they applied the concepts of AI in their practice with clients and organizations, as well as discussion on further opportunities for implementing and integrating Appreciative Inquiry.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 4-Week training described above, you also receive:

1. Free access to the RealAudio version of this training.
2. A Bibliography of leading works on AI.
3. A number of web resources to support your work in this field.
4. Summary notes of each class session.
5. List of class participants.


Benefits to you of participating 4-Week Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of Appreciative Inquiry to add to your toolbox as a facilitator, team leader, coach, or leader.
2. Learn to employ a change process that works.
3. Learn how to come from a positive, "what works" perspective when working with individuals and groups.


Click here to register now!

Leader Bios

Bert Stitt operates a home-based consultancy from Madison, Wisconsin. He provides facilitation services, public engagement consultation, and organizational development for community-building projects, coaching for non-governmental organizations, mediation and facilitation for governmental agencies, and strategic planning processes for associations, foundations, and small businesses. Appreciative Inquiry is a relatively recent tool that Bert is finding very useful as he reaches into the toolbox while helping to build the organizations he works with.

Patricia Clason has traveled across the continent doing speeches, workshops and media appearances as a professional speaker, trainer, consultant and writer, giving over 3,000 presentations for corporations, associations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Now the Director of the Center for Creative Learning which offers programs for personal and professional development and has written many articles, training programs and personal growth seminars and is a sought-after guest for radio and television. Patricia likes to focus on alternative methods of teaching and learning, addressing the psychological perspectives and principles behind the practical tools that she teaches. As a result, audiences are often entranced with her and excited about using these new ideas.

Course Fee and Registration.
The full cost of training is only $64.95 for MFJ readers ($79.95 for the general public). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. The class will meet for one hour on the following four Wednesdays at 2:00 PM EST (NY Time), March 17th, March 24th, March 31st, and April 7th.

Please click here and you'll be taken to the teleclass registration page. Register there and you'll see your discount computed and applied as you check out. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course
. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.


Click here to register for this "live" teleclass now!

Self-Guided Real Audio Version. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with all the resources outlined above. You'll be provided with access to the recorded offerings of the four-hour teleclass that you can listen to online and follow along in the notes used in the live class.



Click here to purchase Real Audio Version for $59

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