Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0272, October 3, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

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 this area. 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.

Improv 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, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class is highly interactive, uses many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you, and always receives rave reviews. Come join us the week of October 23rd. Register by tomorrow, October 10th for a $10 discount. 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

Facilitate Yourself First

Managing your own inner group is an
important prerequisite for effective facilitation.

Self-Facilitation Skill

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.

To 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…yourself. "Self-Facilitation" 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.

I'm a facilitator, shouldn't I be doing something?

But so are they. We're all facilitators, but hey, whose facilitating THIS group?

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 them.

What should I say?

Hey, how 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?"

What 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 groups.

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.

Stay Tuned 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!

How do you facilitate yourself? Please click reply and share your comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Networking Request--Users of "Six Hats" Tools in Facilitation

Denyse 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:

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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..

October 9th-13th, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), one hour each day.

How 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.

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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