Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0229, November 8, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers....

Dear friends,

We're creating a new look at starting with our new logo that you see here to the right (if you can't view this, please click here to view it on the site). The process of facilitating change in the way we show up is often considered an inside job. But simply "being" different on the outside can impact how we are inside as well. As we evolve here at, a small step in changing how we look is providing us with a metaphor for our future.

In this week's article, Seeing Your Future in Metaphor, we consider how this image reflects our core beliefs around facilitation and change that we wish to live into and how you might translate some of these principles into your work with groups seeking to do the same. Also, in celebration of our new look, we're offering a "New Look Discount" this week only: 20% off either the Basic or Premium memberships. Click here for details.

Join Shadow Work Facilitator, Alyce Barry and I this Thursday where we'll discuss: Creating Safety and Trust in Your Groups: A Transformative New Approach to Working With Resistance. This is a provocative new approach to managing resistance based on her Shadow Work training. Read about the details of this interview after the article below and join us this Thursday, November 10th at 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time) for this provocative dialogue.

The Improvisational Facilitator Returns

Sue Walden and I will be leading another session of the 5-day teleclass, "The Improvisational Facilitator," the week of November 14th. This class always receives rave reviews. We'll present powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class is very interactive and uses many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. See details at the end of this issue.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


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The Point

Seeing your future in metaphor
Using physical models to show your group the way to healthy change

Self-Facilitation Skill

My partner, Ginger Lordus has been encouraging me to upgrade my logo for the past several months. I agreed that I'd like to make it more professional and more reflective of my values and philosophy, however, it remained a low priority in my mind. Further, though I could have hired a professional artist, who, through trial and error, would probably render something close to what we wanted, I hated the idea of paying a lot of money for the gamble that someone outside of my industry could fully grasp and translate the essence of facilitation in a picture.

Ginger would often get visions of possible logos and attempt to sketch them on paper. Not being an artist either, she would often become frustrated trying to clearly express on paper what she saw in her mind's eye.

Then early last week, after reviewing her latest sketch on the refrigerator, I began dabbling on the computer with another logo concept. I found a piece of clip art that had a hint of what I was after and started playing with ideas. I came up with something rough that was at least in the ballpark.

Ginger thought it was a great start and started making suggestions and sketching changes to improve it. I got on the computer and began rendering these changes. Little by little, our new logo began to take shape. The interesting thing is, for the logo to evolve, we were required to embrace our values and concept of facilitation and translate it into something tangible...into a visual image.

Once we thought it was perfect, Ginger said, "Wouldn't it be great if we could make it move?" Oh boy, just when I thought I was done, she asks for a deeper cut. I knew how to make it move but I also knew it would require several more hours of work to make that happen. Well, I spent those hours and the movement added even more to this logo's message.


Here are some things we learned about facilitating change in a group (of two in this case) using an external focus--a physical model--as a metaphor. In our case, we used a logo. In your case, you may be working with a group attempting to improve their teamwork and communication, or something else all together.

So pick a metaphor that can be tailored to represent where you want to be as a team. It might be a collection of flowers and weeds, complete with bugs and butterflies. Or it might be a toolbox, a box of office supplies, or the very room you're working in.

Start somewhere. With our logo, we started with a rough piece of clip art that had a faint resemblance to what we were after. It gave us a starting point to talk about and refine from there. Anything can be used as a model as its function is that of a screen for you to project onto. A blank screen however, is much harder to comment on than one filled with something you can change.

Keep it simple. It seems to me that the best logos are those that say the most with the least. Our most universal symbols are very easy to understand and remember. The more you can say with the least amount of information, the better. So as you develop your physical metaphor for your group, only add those objects that represent an essential element of the dynamic you seek to model.

Handle the details.
The development of our logo required lots of very subtle little changes. Little curves on the hands and feet, straightening jagged lines, a little tip of the foot to "kick off" the "U", signifying the fact that sometimes we need to help our participants "let go" of their need for our leadership. Fine-tuning the details allows us to clean up all those little twigs that over time, become a huge beaver dam in the way of the change we want to make.

It's about U. At Facilitator"U", the "U" stands for "University" but it also stands for "you." We believe the act of facilitation is greatly impacted by your ability to facilitate yourself. Your inner state is always reflected in some way by your group. If you're at peace, you'll contribute to the group's peace of mind. If you believe in the brilliance of your group, their brilliance is more likely to show up. Hence our logo shows the facilitator lightly holding and letting go of the "U", providing only the support needed to help "you" on your way toward the next version of yourself you seek to become.

Be patient.
Two weeks ago, our article explored the "Theory of the U," from the book, "Presence." Briefly, the "U" in the model represents "Sensing," or deep observation free of assumptions; "Retreat and Reflect" to allow inner knowing to emerge; and "Realizing," acting swiftly with a natural flow. As we interact with our metaphors, this theory applies. Every metaphor is a mirror telling you something about "you." The deeper you travel down the "U", observing and reflecting, the more knowing shows up around the issue you're reflecting about. So invite your group to stay with their metaphor, mining all the meaning available, much of which may be unconscious at first, to get the most from this exercise.

Stay in your heart. All the fancy strategies, methods, and models in the world can be used to orchestrate fantastic possible futures, but if these futures lack the heart and commitment of the group, they'll never be realized. The work we do as facilitators and as participants must have heart to be realized. Further, as facilitators, we'll be most effective when we are coming from our hearts and connecting with our participants on this level. We've got to "care" about them and their work to truly be of much help. One of the little details on our logo, though almost imperceptible, are little hearts in each of the graphical elements. We thought this added a nice touch and an accurate rendering of the relationship between facilitator and client.

Now what? So you helped your group find something tangible they can use as a metaphor for their work--a room, a drawing, a collection of tools, etc. You've helped them to tailor, sculpt, and fashion it to represent as closely as possible the change they seek to embody. When everyone can say "Yes, that's it!" They will have done the work required to make a change together. When they're stuck, use discussion or hands-on work with the model to help them find out what's in the way and to find a way through it. Having worked together to make the changes necessary to reach consensus on their model, have your group identify the things about the process they used that contributed to their success. Then help them strategize how they can apply this process to another change they seek.


Build a physical metaphor this week to help you take the next step personally or go help your group move to the next level of change. If you're stumped, let the top of your desk represent what's going on in your life right now. What does it tell you about the current state of your life? Is there something you want to change about it? If so, do it now? Now what comes up for you? Please email us what you discover, we'd love to hear from you.

Facilitation Expert Series

Creating Safety and Trust in Your Groups: A Transformative New Approach to Working With Resistance. Featuring Alyce Barry, Certified Shadow Work Group Facilitator and Coach. Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Alyce Barry and Steve Davis on Thursday, November 10th at 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time).

"Just in Time" Learning

Why do we resist change? Shadow Work Coach Alyce Barry offers a surprising answer: there is a part of the self whose job it is to resist, and it's resisting for good reasons. You can learn to address that part of a person who's resisting and get it working for you rather than against you. Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Alyce Barry and Steve Davis on Thursday, November 10th at 1:00 PM EST (NY Time) and learn how honoring resistance can help move your group forward. Some of the points we'll discuss are...

Why people resist change.
Why resistance is a good strategy.
How to get resistance working for you instead of against you.
Five kinds of resistance, and how to disarm them.
How to create safety and trust in your groups.
How to empathize with a group member even when they are criticizing or attacking you.
You will also have an opportunity to participate in an optional exercise to view your own resistance as a good strategy.
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass

Three Free Bonuses!

1. Illustrated Shadow Work Model.
2. Article: "Five Kinds of Resistance and How to Disarm Them"
3. Article "Two More Responses to Fear in Your Groups."

This seminar is free to members.
Click here
to view features and benefits of membership.

Click here for details about this interview, the bonuses, and registration.
In the Spotlight

The Improvisational Facilitator

It's easier than you think...your life is already an improv!

Learn improv techniques to become a more effective facilitator, trainer, and group leader

November 14th-18, 2005, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), 75 minutes each day.

A week after the course I have found myself talking about and actually using the techniques taught! The experiential based learning really worked for me and I learnt whilst having fun – always a good way to retain new learnings. The course has provided me with a toolkit of great techniques to improve my own facilitation, as well as some enjoyable exercises to use with delegates. I have nothing but praise for both Sue and Steve, who walked their talk with their own facilitation skills – they simply flowed through the course with grace and intelligence. The content, the materials and the facilitators is 5 star stuff and I highly recommend it to any facilitator.
--Amanda Alexander, Coach and Founder of

Click here for details and registration

Managing People You Rarely See

5-day Teleclass on the Management and Facilitation of Virtual/Distributed Teams

Unlock the potential of your virtual team as an effective distance manager

The Art of Managing an Outstanding Virtual Team. Managing people from a distance isn’t easy.

Do you need to get rapid results from people collaborating across multiple locations? This class will discuss managing remote relationships and frameworks for successfully managing projects across large distances. There are issues created by the geographic distance between team members. But those issues can be overcome, and in fact, the potential of a distance team to accomplish amazing feats far outweighs any logistical liabilities. Project development teams scattered around the country or around the globe can take advantage of the best scientific minds, technical skills and subject matter experts...if they can manage the remote relationships effectively. This course will build remote management competencies by providing a framework for success and applying it to real-life examples. The course contains consolidated information packed into a one-day format.

Click here for Self-Guided 5-Day Real Audio or CD Version Membership Option

Become a member of premium member and register for this teleclass at half price in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

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