Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0268, September 6, 2006 ....
 

Dear friends,

Have you ever facilitated a group of facilitators? In my experience, this can be a challenging thing to do. Some of my most frustrating experiences with groups have occurred when working within groups of my peers.
Reflecting on these experiences, I've made some observations that may help us see facilitation a bit more clearly. I look forward to hearing about your experiences and specific comments on this matter.

FacilitatorU.com News

The Facilitation Debates
Help us stir the proverbial pot. Check out the question of the week after the main article and send us your thoughts on it to stimulate debate and round out our perspectives on key topics.

Integral Facilitation R&D Teleconference
For the past three years, I've been thinking about how to map the art and science of facilitation into Ken Wilber's Integral Model. Recently, I've begun moving forward in my efforts to formulate this model and perhaps glean some new insights from it about achieving results in groups. You're invited to a roundtable teleconference on this model on September 18th cohosted by colleagues at the Integral Learning Community (ILC) at the University of Wisconsin. See details at the end of this issue.

FacilitatorU.com membership Discount for College and University Students!
In an effort to get our materials in the hands of future leaders and those involved in educating our future leaders, we've recently instituted a significant 66% discount on FacilitatorU memberships for college and university students and faculty. If you are in any way connected to a college and university and can help us get the word out, please contact me to discuss it.


Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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The Point


Facilitating Facilitators
Know the challenges of leading a group of leaders.

Self-Facilitation Skill

I've attended several workshops in the past aimed at facilitators, trainers, coaches, and group leaders. In these workshops, we of course get the opportunity to work in small groups to complete assigned tasks. One thing that continues to strike me is how difficult it can be working within a group of fellow facilitators. Some of my most frustrating experiences with groups have occurred when working within groups of my peers.

Why is this? I've pondered this a bit and have come up with some of my own ideas as to why facilitating a group of facilitators is a lot like the proverbial herding of cats.


Application


I believe that working amongst a group of facilitators can teach use some valuable lessons about facilitation. Here are some of my observations.

  • Leading a group of leaders isn't easy. First, facilitators like to, well, facilitate when they're in groups. So sometimes it's difficult to lead a group when everyone else is leading it in their own direction.

  • Do we need an "assigned" facilitator? Facilitators often forget about the importance of assigning a facilitator when working with groups of facilitators, because again, we're all facilitators so why bother? Wrong! Few groups work well without someone in charge.

  • Facilitators love processing. I find facilitators can really get hung up on process. But no wonder! That's our strength. We feel comfortable talking about process and most of all, "being in process." This can be a great weakness however if process and content tip too far out of balance.

  • Facilitators love to participate, or not. In groups of facilitators, I've seen the level of participation go either over the top toward everyone wanting to speak at once, to total content neutrality. Either situation can make it tough to move forward. Some of my experiences have made me wonder why we often work so hard to get full participation. I suppose the distinction here is full participation versus full "simultaneous" participation!

  • Facilitators love to be transparent. Again, another great facilitator strength that can turn sour is our willingness to share "everything" we sense. The important distinction here is to share only those things that move the group toward its goal.

  • Facilitators will listen to reason. Fortunately, most facilitators have great hearts and want the best for their groups. Therefore, I find that if I can keep my wits about me, and drop some well place questions and reflections, that often is all that's needed to get the group back on track.

So then, how do you show up as a participant in groups of other facilitators? Do any of these observations hit home with you? If so, what are your insights? I'd love to hear them.

Action
 

What's facilitating facilitators been like for you? What have you found to be the best remedy? I look forward to hearing your perspectives and experiences on this. Please click reply and email your comments to me.

Let's Debate this one


A big "thank you" to the following people who responded to last week's question which was:


Should facilitators work for clients with questionable practices
(hire illegals, polluters, unethical practices, etc.)?

I've included their comments below...

From Kimberly Douglas: I would say it depends. If the work you are doing is to help them promote or implement illegal or unethical practices, then I would say no. However, I do believe that positive change can come from the inside (if not mandated from the outside), and as a facilitator, I would like to be a part of helping to create (and build mechanisms to sustain) that internal drive for positive change.

From Ginger Lordus: Yes, without a doubt. Facilitators allow clients to move to another or higher place of knowing. Who are we to question if one’s practice or intent is unethical? We all perceive “another” from our own level of consciousness. Any fear or judgment of another action or being is through our own perception. I suggest we embrace all that is before us as an opportunity to move through fear and judgment to enlightenment…for ourselves and others.

From Fred Niziol:
I suppose, that as with all questions put to a facilitator, the answer is a resounding "it depends". It depends on the facilitator. If the questionable activity is blatantly illegal, I'd draw the line, as I assume most facilitators would, and not work for the client. After that, it depends on who is defining questionable: for example, the NRA opposes many firearms laws; folks not of that opinion accuse that organization of questionable lobbying practices; people opposed to the anti-Iraq war groups methods accuse them of unethical & questionable practices e.g. protesting at funerals;. To work for a client doesn't necessarily mean that you agree with their ends; a good facilitator is detached from the content & enmeshed in the process. So in the end, it does depend. It depends on how good a facilitator you are & if you can put the practice of the craft ahead of your personal feelings & prejudices.


This week's question is:

What are some ways you've seen facilitation impede the progress of groups?

Please click reply and email your comments on this question to me. Those questions that garner adequate response will be converted to articles for future issues of this journal. Thanks for your interest and involvement!

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In the Spotlight


Integral Facilitation: "Facilitating Optimal Results in Groups"
September 18, 2006, 12:30-2:30PM Pacific (3:30-5:30 PM Eastern)

For the past three years, I've been thinking about how to map the art and science of facilitation into Ken Wilber's Integral Map. Over the past couple months, I've begun moving forward in my efforts to formulate this model and perhaps glean some new insights from it about achieving results in groups. My colleagues at the Integral Learning Community (ILC) at the University of Wisconsin are co-hosting a roundtable teleconference on this model on September 18th. Here are the details...

The focused effort of committed people in groups is an extremely powerful instrument. It has been engaged by social activists, harnessed by business, and inspired by politicians and poets. Over the past few decades, a method called facilitation has been evolving and showing up at town hall meetings, in board rooms, and in working groups throughout the worlds of business, government, industry, and education. All sorts of techniques, practices, and mindsets have been applied by the facilitator to aid in group cohesion and success. Facilitation, however, can not be reduced to flip charts, markers, or the latest slick process.

This session will describe and engage the Integral Learning Community (ILC) in Madison, WI with the possibility of integral facilitation: defining a comprehensive scope of facilitation to achieve optimal results in groups. Steve Davis and Darin Harris will help uncover the potential for a full systems approach to facilitation using Ken Wilber's "four quadrant" model.

During the first hour a descriptive teleconference will take place, while the second hour will allow more seasoned integral practitioners to delve deeper in the material. Find out more by visiting: www.integralfacilitation.com.

Registration. Click here and send a blank email to register for the call. The bridge line is limited to 50 callers so call in early to secure a spot on the call.

Schedule. The first hour of the call, from
3:30-4:30 PM Eastern, we'll present an Overview of the model as it stands. From 4:30-5:30 Eastern we'll engage in a group discussion and suggestions for continued development and use of the model.


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