Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0269, September 12, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

On a recent day trip to Santa Cruz Island off the California coast, some insights came to me around silence and receptivity that relate to facilitation. In this week's article,
Are You Facilitating Mass Hypnosis? I offer these insights and some questions to ponder around what we often do that gets in the way of group progress and independence. I look forward to your thoughts as always. News

New 5-day Teleclass: Transforming Conflict in the Workplace.
Remove the fear and uncertainty in working with conflict in groups and organizations in this 5-day teleclass series led by a 25-year expert in the fields of facilitation and mediation, Harry Webne-Behrman. See details after the article.

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. Click here for details. 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


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The Point

Are You Facilitating Mass Hypnosis?
Most of the time, it's best to facilitate with a light touch.

Group-Facilitation Skill

A few days ago my partner and I accompanied our close friends on a day trip to Santa Cruz Island, about 30 miles off the California coast east of Ventura. Upon arriving at the island, we were greeted by a park volunteer who gave us a short briefing on the facilities and also offered to guide us on a short one-hour hike. We decided that the hike sounded like a good idea so we joined in.

About 10 minutes into the hike, we realized that this guide (as most every guide I've experienced) was talking nonstop about the superficialities of the island. He was in essence, giving us data. We quickly decided to abandon the guided tour to head out for a quiet hike on our own down an alternate trail.

Reflecting upon this experience on that hike, I came up with some questions. Why do guides feel compelled, and likely trained to cram superficial data into us in a place where many of us come to enjoy the now rare peace, quiet, and solitude of a natural setting?
Is this guide and others unwitting participants part of a ploy to keep us out of touch with ourselves through their nonstop barrage of superficial information? Why can't some guides facilitate our "experiencing" the unique "feeling" of the environment? Or tell us stories that involve what is "felt" like to live on the island a hundred years ago?


As usual, I converted these reflections into some related questions and insights for us facilitators to ponder.

- Do you feel that you need to talk "nonstop" when facilitating a group or when giving a presentation? Music without spaces between the notes sounds like noise. Presentations without pauses begin to sounds the same way. People tune out when they aren't "touched" by the speaker. Listen to your audience while you speak to sense their receptivity.

- Do you think that you need to be facilitating/leading all the time?
If at times you find your group capable of facilitating themselves, then by all means, get out of their way! Remember that your role is to serve your group and to help them work together with as light a touch as needed. Encouraging them to do as much as possible without your intervention increases their ownership of what's accomplished and builds their skills in self-facilitating.

- Do you go into your groups too attached to an agenda to address your client's agenda? It's great to have done your homework so that you are clear about your group's issues and the best way to go about working through them. But the fact is, until you sit down with the group, you don't know all that needs to be known. Furthermore, things change moment to moment. Be ready to toss your prepared agenda to the wind in service to what's showing up in the group to serve their desired goals.

- Do you secretely want your groups to see things your way? It's OK to be honest here. It's hard not to want others to adopt the perspectives that we take to be true. In fact, it's often part of our task to help others reach consensus which is in a sense, agreement on perspectives. There's nothing wrong with this. Just notice when you feel an inner tug for someone to "get it." It may be right for them to "get" something different, at least at this particular moment.

- Do you only see value in what you do or say? What you say and do as a facilitator certainly has value. But that's not the only value you bring. There's value in your authentic presence as well. Your silence, your intent, your transparency, and your attitude are all tangible contributions to your group. Let all things that flow from you come from the place of knowing that your authentic presence is enough.


How have these insights spoken to you today? What do you plan to do or not do as a result? I look forward to hearing your perspectives. 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:

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

I've included their comments below...

From Gilbert Brenson-Lazan: It could be said that facilitation that impedes the progress of groups is not group facilitation, but I´ll leave the Byzantine Polemics to others and just relate the principle behaviors of facilitators and facilitation students that I have observed and that, in my opinion, impede group progress:

1) A higher priority given to meticulously stay within the framework or content of an agenda, than to be sensitive to and address the felt needs of the participants.
2) Obsessive avoidance of content intervention even when the experience of the facilitator contains best practices that could help the group.
3) "Facipulation": the "facilitator" manipulates the group to achieve a specific goal not agreed upon with the group.
4) When the "facilitator" is promoting the hidden agenda of certain stakeholders and not that agreed upon with the group.
5) When the facilitator has a conscious or unconscious need to "shine" or impress others.
6) The excessive use of silence.
7) Belaboring the processing of an exercise without relating it to the reality experienced in the participants´ day to day work.

From Dennis Boyer:

1. Too much emphasis on closure were ambiguity might be healthy.
2. Allowing consensus to narrow ideas where broadening might be helpful.
3. Stopping a discussion before it reaches the "tipping point" or "critical mass"

From Mitch Morrison

- The facilitator who allows the participants to highjack the group, and fails to stay on track.

What question do you want answered? Please click reply and let us know if there's a question your stewing on that you'd like to open up to our readership. 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

Transforming Conflict in the Workplace...

Would you be a more effective facilitator or leader with a more solid base of conflict resolution skills under your belt? 

All organizations and relationships encounter conflict. It's what we do with it that makes all the difference in the world.

Remove the fear and uncertainty in working with conflict in groups and organizations in this 5-day teleclass series: Transforming Conflict in the Workplace, led by a 25-year expert in the fields of facilitation and mediation, Harry Webne-Behrman.

o Did you know that everyone has a unique style and response to conflict? Knowing your styles and response is critical to effective conflict resolution.

o Do you feel comfortable modeling effective conflict resolution skills as a facilitator? This is one of the best ways to prevent conflict from escalating.

o Did you know that 80% of effective conflict management consists of effective interpersonal communication? Knowing how to facilitate this kind of communication is key to mining the positive energy of conflict.

o Do you know what it takes to establish conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations? This knowledge is in growing demand for facilitators, coaches, and consultants.

In this class you will learn conflict resolution skills for facilitative leaders by exploring and evaluating your own styles and personal responses conflict, learning and practicing conflict resolution strategies in the context of group facilitation, and exploring how you can implement conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations.

By the end of the 5 days, you will:

  • Know your own conflict resolution style and response to conflict.
  • Be able to employ effective conflict resolution strategies with any group.
  • Understand how to deal with impasse in groups.
  • Be able to recognize others conflict styles and responses.
    Have more confidence in dealing with conflict in groups and organizations.
  • Know the keys to implementing conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations.
  • And much more..

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...

1. Listen to MP3 recordings of five 60-minute teleclasses.

2. Work through a workbook during the 5 days which will step you through key conflict resolution skills and strategies.

Course Outline...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Components of a Comprehensive Conflict Resolution Program
- The nine keys to designing and implementing an integrated conflict resolution program in your organization.
- Core strategies for facilitating effective responses to conflict so that all staff are invested in success.

Communication Skills and Strategies * The Heart of Conflict

- The three primary communication styles and their conflict style counterparts.
- Four key communication skills you need to effectively manage conflict.
- How to model these skills at critical points of conflict within groups.

Strategies to Understand and Manage Defensive Behaviors
- Two key strategies to managing your own defensive responses to conflicts that arise.
- Four ways to encourage assertive communication among group members to prevent conflict from escalating.
- Three keys to working with disagreement that will prevent conflict from occurring.

Collaborative Negotiation Strategies
- A six step model to assure the success of any negotiation.
- 10 Strategies for Managing Impasse.
- 8 Special Considerations for Managing Multi-Party Disputes.
- Five types of power essential to identify to facilitate conflict management.

Synthesis * Designing Staff Facilitation/ Mediation Systems to Transform Conflict in the Workplace
- Building the foundation of a staff facilitation program.
- Keys to the design and implementation a collaborative dispute settlement system.
- Key steps to starting your conflict mediation program or reviving a failed one.
- Individual Coaching and Q&A

Click here for full details and registration

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