Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0347, June 19, 2008
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This week's article is about being a multi dimensional facilitator bringing deeper levels of awareness and making group facilitation wholly effective.

Last week was the the long waited Journey of Collaboration in Madison, WI. It was accompanied by wisdom, rich experiences, creativity, exceptional facilitation, and interestingly enough mighty tornadoes and floods. The journey was indeed full of adventure, mental shifts, gratitude and awe. Both our facilitators, Darin Harris and Harry Webne-Behrman created a space for the group to expand and deepen the understanding of facilitation. Each participant brought their sense of wisdom and shared without resistance. Wow! What a rich journey! Steve’s presence was missed as he was the master mind having designed the Journey with Darin Harris. It is my commitment to create an article summarizing the experience. Even though words alone can not describe this amazing five day journey, we will attempt to capture the experience and provide feedback in the next two weeks.

In the month of July, we will be interviewing some well known leaders of the industry. Join us for a teleconference on July 10th with Daryl Conner, author of Managing at the Speed of Change and on July 31st with Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting.

Keep your wonderful feedback coming as it is much appreciated and valued.
Look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.

Thank you for being a part of this growing community.


Site Manager,


The Point

Be a Multi-Dimensional Facilitator

Artful facilitation requires awareness and action at all levels: physical, thinking, emotional, intuitive, energy, spiritual and synergistic.

Intervention Skill

It is important to know that what goes on in a group happens below the thinking level and below participants conscious awareness. It is the facilitator's job to bring these deeper levels into participants awareness so that they may be wholly effective. Given that most innovative, creative, inventive, and visionary developments are born at these deeper levels, progressive teams will benefit by developing awareness of them.

In the book, "The Art of Facilitation", the authors Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, Bill Taylor do an excellent job of describing the characteristics and actions an effective facilitator must attend to each of the following levels of being:

bullet Physical Level
bullet Thinking Level
bullet Emotional Level

bullet Intuitive Level
bullet Energy Level
bullet Spiritual or Ritual Level
bullet Synergistic Level

We've summarized the details of each level below to help you identify what level a group is operating from and which level will help them further their purpose at any given time. You can get better at working with these levels by noticing them in your groups, sharing your observations with them, gaining group agreement to shift levels, and experimenting with processes designed to shift levels.


bullet Physical Level: Plan and check for physical comfort needs, and utility of tools and props required to support specific group intention. Handle things like temperature, fresh air, comfortable seating, lighting and visibility of people and props, food and drink, restroom facilities, tools and props required to support specific group intention, and special needs of participants (interpreters, childcare, accommodations for disabled, etc.)

bullet Thinking Level: Primary mode of most groups and the level where much of the "concrete" work gets done. At this level, encourage people to fully participate, speak of possibility, focus on forward motion, share ideas, embrace diversity, etc. At this level, these types of words are used: "I think...I've noticed...I understand...My vision is...Can you imagine...We need to consider"...etc.

bullet Emotional Level: This is the level of feeling where we share experiences, feelings, pain, joy, compassion, concern, etc. Encourage sharing from the heart, trust, participants owning their feelings, empathy and compassion, etc. Avoid letting people shut down their feelings or those of others, filling up the silence, or projection of feelings on others. At this level, these types of words are used: "I feel...I care...I'm concerned...etc.

bullet Intuitive Level: This level focuses on the essence of macro experiences. Encourage participants to listen for the whole group, for what needs to be said, speak the unsayable, and to recognize group wisdom.  Avoid ignoring the unspoken upset, group wisdom, or pretending the distress will go away. At this level, these types of words are used: "I sense that...There is something not quite right here...There is something wrong here...We are onto something--I've almost got it"...etc.

bullet Energy Level: This level focuses on nonverbal energy ques. As a facilitator, at times you'll need to help move the energy from low to high or vice versa. Encourage awareness of participants' energy levels, key energy points and shifts, and times where a shift is needed.

bullet Spiritual or Ritual Level: At this level you tap into the higher purpose and higher consciousness of the group. This can be done by using music, meditation, dance, art, and ritual to invoke higher spiritual energies such as compassion, love, planetary awareness, joy, essence, or a spirit of peace. Encourage development of group rituals, fun, joy, and self-expression, practices that deepen group experience, embracing of cultural diversity, and inclusion of all concerned. Discourage implanting rituals designed by others, that don't inspire everyone, that have become meaningless or boring.

bullet Synergistic Level: This is the level of transformation where a group becomes aligned, attuned, and integrated. At this level, participants are aware of group mind and can tap group wisdom at will. This is a magical level where the most powerful and creative work can be done. Encourage alignment with group purpose, clearing, attunement, spontaneity, deep sharing, appreciation, lightness, and humor. Discourage discounting self and others, cynicism, negativity, small-mindedness, and clinging to positions


This week, practice identifying the various levels in which your groups are operating. If possible, share your observations with fellow facilitators or other group members. How will this help you become a more effective facilitator? We'd love to hear your perspective on this important subject.  Please email your comments to us.

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