Facilitator Journal | Issue #0270, September 19, 2006 ....
past summer I was invited to deliver a half-day facilitation workshop
for a group of program managers within a large corporation. When
I arrived prior to the start of the workshop, I began speaking with
the participants. One young man got my attention. He was one with
whom I'd spoken with during my workshop preparation who holds a
relatively senior position in the group. Let's call him "Bill."
He seemed a bit tired, depressed, frustrated, but above all, very
bright and very real. I sensed immediately that he could serve as
a mirror into the present for my group. In this week's article,
"Find an Mirror," we discuss the value of drawing on a
person or object to help anchor or mirror your intention for a group.
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.
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a person or an object to help mirror your presence and intention for
This past summer I was invited to deliver a half-day basic facilitation
workshop for a group of program managers within a large corporation. This
was sponsored by the group leader, who was a big fan of facilitation and
whose primary goal for the session was to increase interest among his
team in learning more about facilitation. To tailor the training, I had
short telephone discussions with the leader and several of his staff.
Through these discussions, I received hints that there were larger systemic
issues that were inspiring a desire to increase facilitation skills, that
facilitation alone would not remedy.
When I arrived prior to the start of the workshop, I began speaking with
the participants. One young man got my attention. He was one with whom
I'd spoken with during my workshop preparation who holds a relatively
senior position in the group. Let's call him "Bill." He seemed
a bit tired, depressed, frustrated, but above all, very bright and very
real. I sensed immediately that he could serve as an emotional barometer
for the group. By emotional barometer, I mean that he was the type of
person who could not help but be transparent with his thoughts and feelings.
He would unwittingly serve as my mirror into the present during my workshop.
you may be asking what I mean by "mirror" and why I might need
such a device while facilitating a training. Good questions.
However present and real we might attempt to be while leading groups,
it's not unusual for us to get caught up in our thoughts, our material,
a tangent tossed in by a participant, or any number of other distractions
or delusions. Having a mirror can be helpful in keeping us grounded in
the present and in our intention while we work.
During this workshop, I found myself checking in regularly with Bill to
note his reactions. This turned out to be a great tool for me as Bill
helped me stay real. His reactions showed me when I was losing him, when
I was talking too much, when I wasn't real and present, when I needed
to move on, when what we were doing was irrelevant, and so on. He was
in fact my mirror who assisted me in keeping the pace, energy, and content
So how do you go about creating your own mirror and furthermore, how do
you use one during your group work? Here are some suggestions.
- First, find a mirror. You may not always be as fortunate as I
was at finding a "Bill" in your group. But do spend some a little
time if possible looking for particularly sensitive and transparent members
who might serve you in this way. They may not always be the most pleasant
among the group, and sometime for good reason. If a group is significantly
dysfunctional and everyone else is acting as if everything is wonderful,
who would you rather trust? The most friendly and cheerful one, or the
one who seems to be reflecting the problems you're there to help them
- No mirror? Bring a talisman. If we can't find a person to be a mirror
for our group, consider bringing a special object that you either conceal
in your pocket or display somewhere in plain view. Use this object to
serve as an anchor or reminder of your intention for the session and/or
how you choose to show up with the group.
For example, I have a small, flat stone that contains an image of an eagle
carved on its surface. If I carry it in my pocket, each time I reach down
to feel it there, I recall my earlier intention to rise above any confusion
that shows ups, retaining a "bird's eye" view of the situation
to help this group rise above and triumph over their current issue.
- Use the mirror. Read the body language and sense the mental and
emotional state of your mirror periodically. Don't give your mirror undue
attention, but monitor their response as you would any other participant,
perhaps giving their response greater weight as you adjust your delivery.
At one point, I found my mirror looking exhausted and I was feeling a
bit drained myself. We were moving into a particularly long stretch in
order to finish on schedule. I made a point to check in with him and ask
if there was anything he needed to do to re-energize. He apologized and
declined, but this seemed to be all he needed to shift both his energy,
the group's, and mine.
- Don't act on everything the mirror shows you. While tapping into
a personal barometer can be beneficial, be aware that giving any one person
undue attention at the expense of the remainder of the group can be counterproductive.
Don't assume that the responses of the mirror are all about you and your
presentation. Even when mirroring others, human beings have a way of letting
their own "stuff" leak through at times that may have nothing
to do with the present moment. So consider your mirror's input in addition
to all the other information available to you before deciding to change
ever used a personal barometer or a talisman in your groups? How might
you try this approach yourself? Please click reply and share your comments.
I'd love to hear from you.
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Conflict in the Workplace...
you be a more effective facilitator or leader
with a more solid base of conflict resolution
skills under your belt?
organizations and relationships encounter conflict.
It's what we do with it that makes all the difference
in the world.
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.
Did you know that everyone has a unique style
and response to conflict? Knowing
your styles and response is critical to effective
o Do you feel comfortable modeling effective conflict
resolution skills as a facilitator? This
is one of the best ways to prevent conflict from
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.
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,
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.
the end of the 5 days, you will:
your own conflict resolution style and
response to conflict.
able to employ effective conflict resolution
strategies with any group.
how to deal with impasse in groups.
able to recognize others conflict styles
more confidence in dealing with conflict in
groups and organizations.
the keys to implementing conflict resolution
and staff facilitation programs within organizations.
October 9th-13th, 2006, 10:00
AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time),
one hour each day.
the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. Dial into your class every day for 5 days
(Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment
using a conferencing bridge.
2. Work through a workbook during the 5
days which will step you through key conflict
resolution skills and strategies.
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss
issues on the subject matter with the instructor
and your classmates via an online discussion forum
during the course.
4. Access to the instructors via email
for specific help.
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during
the 5-Day course...
of a Comprehensive Conflict Resolution Program
The nine keys to designing and implementing an
integrated conflict resolution program in your
- Core strategies for facilitating effective responses
to conflict so that all staff are invested in
and Strategies * The Heart of Conflict
- The three primary communication styles and their
conflict style counterparts.
- Four key communication skills you need to effectively
- How to model these skills at critical points
of conflict within groups.
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.
- A six step model to assure the success of any
- 10 Strategies for Managing Impasse.
- 8 Special Considerations for Managing Multi-Party
- 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
- 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
here for full details and registration