Facilitator Journal | Issue #0272, October 3, 2006 ....
A lot can go on in one's mind when engaged in leading a group of
individuals to achieve a common goal. Particularly when those individuals
aren't quite in agreement with one another about where they want
to go and how to get there. To complicate matters, you too, as a
group facilitator, have your own set of opinions, biases, and reactions
to what goes on in this dynamic process. This week's article, "Facilitate
Yourself First," discusses this issue and offers a couple
of tips to add to your "Self-Facilitation" toolkit. We'll
be exploring this skill set in more detail in the coming weeks as
well and look forward to hearing your feedback and interests in
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.
Skills Solve Facilitator's Greatest Fears!
A strong statement? Perhaps. And I've found the improv skills taught
by Sue Walden in this 5-day teleclass, "The Improvisational
Facilitator," to be life changing whether you apply them to
facilitation or to any other endeavor that involves relating to
others, to yourself, and to your own creativity. We'll present powerful,
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facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class
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Come join us the week of October 23rd. Register by tomorrow, October
10th for a $10 discount. Click
here for details.
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Managing your own inner group is an
important prerequisite for effective facilitation.
A lot can go on in one's mind when engaged in leading a group of individuals
to achieve a common goal. Particularly when those individuals aren't quite
in agreement with one another about where they want to go and how to get
there. To complicate matters, you too, as a group facilitator, have your
own set of opinions, biases, and reactions to what goes on in this dynamic
be your best, it's essential that you "know thyself," as best
you can, before, during, and after leading a group. Being in touch with
your personal values, biases, and motivations, you will be less likely
to get between your group and their progress.
Facilitate Yourself First
I believe that the most important person you need to facilitate in order
to be the most effective is
is a necessary skill requiring you to practice conscious and mindful action
in each and every moment, which is made all the more challenging in the
presence of a dynamic, sometimes dysfunctional group, expecting you to
lead them! So how does one facilitate themselves so that they can be their
best with those they're facilitating?
Facilitate your "Inner Group"
Our personalities contain multiple aspects that often rise up and struggle
to take charge. Recall how you show up in the world when you're in public
vs. in private; with a lover vs. a casual co-worker; with a child vs.
an adult; or writing a letter vs. playing a round of Ping-Pong. Our personalities
are multifaceted and our various aspects show up as needed. Facilitators
must be adept at managing their "inner groups," their sub personalities,
so that they can best focus on the group's needs.
How does one facilitate their "inner group?" Well, in the same
way you facilitate any group. Listen to their points of view, keep their
goal (your intention) in mind, and choose how to behave in accordance
with your group's goal.
Example. I recently attended a workshops a few months ago aimed
at facilitators, trainers, coaches, and group leaders. In this workshop,
we got the opportunity to work in small groups to complete assigned tasks.
As is often the case when working with fellow facilitators, I found the
experience very frustrating.
Here are some of the thoughts that went on in my head:
God these facilitators are way too hung up on process, we're going
to talk our time right out and never get close to our goal.
a facilitator, shouldn't I be doing something?
But so are they. We're all facilitators, but hey, whose facilitating THIS
Some of these facilitators are talking a lot but some of what they're
saying is pretty good. Maybe they know better than I do.
Then again, some of them seem to be going off on tangents. I notice that
I'm getting angry. I need to say something without spilling my anger onto
about a simple question to check in?
So I finally
said to the group...
"Excuse me for a second. We have about 10 minutes left to complete
this task. Is what we're doing now going to get us there in time?"
Are Your Intentions?
Pure facilitation involves the empowerment of the group desires independent
of any desires or biases on the part of the facilitator. Therefore, facilitators
are called to be "neutral" with regard to the content and output
of their groups.
This of course is an idealized and "purist" version of facilitation.
In reality, we all have subjective views about everything. Further, facilitators
can't help but hold "intentions" that influence the course of
their groups. Our definition of intention here is not only about the desire
one holds for their group, but also the beliefs they hold about their
For example, if you want your group to succeed in its outcome but believe
that they are incapable of doing so, your intention is impotent and will
not support results. Resolve this misalignment as your first inner action.
Being clear and transparent around your intentions as a facilitator is
your first, and perhaps greatest contribution to helping groups succeed.
for more on this topic of self-facilitation. If you'd like us to address
specific elements of this topic, have your own stories to share, or otherwise
comment on this article, I'd love to hear from you!
do you facilitate yourself? Please click reply and share your comments.
I'd love to hear from you.
Request--Users of "Six Hats" Tools in Facilitation
Lynch works with clients who are re-engineering business processes,
particularly the sales and customer service functions. As a certified
trainer in Edward de Bono's 6 Hats and Lateral Thinking tools, she uses
these tools in the planning, conduct and follow-up of facilitating meetings/group
sessions, with very beneficial outcomes from saving time, engaging people
without conflict that can characterize some sessions and others. She's
seeking to connect with other facilitators/meeting chairpersons who are
using these tools in facilitating group sessions or for individual planning
purposes. She's interested in knowing what tools you use, the meeting
purposes for which they are used, and what the outcomes have been i.e.
both the benefits and/or downsides. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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