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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0023 | October 16, 2001
6,400 Subscribers

Intervention Skill

Transformation Through CareFrontation
Compassionate and careful feedback to individuals can lead to powerful personal and group transformation.

The Point?

What is CareFrontation?
We use the word CareFrontation to describe the art of delivering constructive, compassionate feedback to individuals or to an entire group,
to expose ineffective behavior and to explore alternatives to that behavior. CareFrontation consists of the truth, as we see it, in the moment, where each participant retains the right to refuse it. The feedback is packaged with caring and love and should be delivered in a way that you would like to receive such feedback. In short, we view CareFrontation as supremely empathetic confrontation. Consequently, CareFrontation should be used only within a group that has previously agreed to work their individual and collective processes. In other words, CareFrontation would be used primarily in a developmental facilitation mode, and may be delivered by either the facilitator to a participant, or among the participants themselves. CareFrontation offers group members opportunities to build more effective relationships with one another and with life.

What CareFrontation is not.
CareFrontation is not harsh or unfeeling, as this creates a climate that inhibits the desire to address change.
CareFrontation is not delivered to attack someone. The participant's vulnerability should be considered at all times, so that when we communicate feedback, it is delivered compassionately, with the intention to support and uplift, and couched as simply our perspective, versus an absolute fact.

When do you CareFfront?
Offering useful feedback or CareFrontation almost requires a sixth sense. It means watching body language, listening between the lines, and intuitively knowing when to encourage a participant to step "outside their box" and when to back off. Feedback must be delivered in real-time, because if behavior is left unaddressed too long, it is difficult to recapture and recall accurately. You should CareFront participants only when they are open and receptive to it. They must retain the right to refuse feedback. So before you offer feedback to a participant, ask them, "May I CareFront you?" Or, "May I offer you some feedback?" If the answer is "NO" then honor that response.

Effective behaviors also need to be reinforced. Bombardment with honest feedback, whether it is perceived as corrective or reinforcing, is important to building self-esteem. Some might call this approach TOUGH LOVE. It is amazing how CareFrontation, used consistently and appropriately, begins to foster the kind of trust in an individual, which will encourage that individual to seek out the CareFronter for more feedback on their behavior!


How do you CAREfront?
When participants are open to receiving feedback, deliver it in a neutral tone as your observation of behavior without judgment. For example, suppose that in a teamwork exercise, a participant has his arms folded and angrily detaches himself from the group. The facilitator might ask, "May I share an observation with you Fred?" If Fred agrees, the facilitator would continue by saying something like, "I just saw you step back from the group with your arms folded when the group was struggling to solve a problem and needed the help of all group members. What was happening for you at that point?" Fred might come back with any number of responses but suppose he said, "Nobody was listening to me!" The facilitator might respond with, "Did your behavior get you what you wanted?" Discussion would continue hopefully to the point where the facilitator would encourage the participant to try a new behavior the next time he is feeling unheard. Perhaps he will agree to use an "I" statement to the group, such as, "I'm really feeling unheard right now. Is anyone else feeling this way?" Statements of truth like this can move a dysfunctional team to a highly functional team over time if this is in fact their goal.


Your assignment this week is to practice CareFronting someone about something. This can be something that consistently bothers you about someone you know, or something that just shows up on the spur of the moment. You know the moment I'm talking about. It's when you get that little signal inside that begs for action but that you ignore because you want to be polite, politically correct, safe, nice, etc. Iím interested in hearing what happens for you. Please email me and let me know what happened right away. I'd love to hear about it!

Interactive Forum
New Forum Launched
Please check out our new forum at the MFJ website. It should prove much easier to use and offers us the opportunity to break out separate forums for distinct topic areas.

Some topics have already been started. Please visit to respond or enter your own topics of interest for others to assist you with.

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Reader Survey 
How Do Facilitators Market Their Services?

Thanks for your responses to the single key theme or issue you see repeated in the groups you work with that most impedes the group making progress. We've included Christiane Boisjoly's response below. Thank you Christiane for your contribution!

The themes that I see repeated over and over in my experience with groups are the following:
1. Lack of awareness. This one is big and key. Key because without it change cannot happen. In this very simple yet highly effective "theory" of change, there are five phases to change (they happen in a sequential fashion, i.e. one cannot happen if the previous one has not happened):
a) awareness
b) understanding 
c) acceptance
d) commitment
e) action
The group cannot take action towards any kind of change if, before anything else, it is not aware of its own process.
The other recurrent themes could be classified as sub-themes of awareness and they include:
2. Very poor listening skills
3. Lack of "community" or group spirit i.e. more focus on individual interests than on community's interests
4. Not willing to take time; wanting to rush into the solution; focused on the solution instead of on the process;
5. Lack of trust.

This week, we're asking you this: What topics that haven't already been covered in the journal would you like to read about in the future. Or what topics that we've already covered would you like to see in more depth?

Please send us your input and we'll do our best to respond to your requests.

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About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to stretch beyond their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on October 23, 2001. 


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