Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0418, November 17, 2009

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Dear Friends,

Groups tend to evolve through a fairly predictable series of stages over time. A very popular model developed by Bruce Tuckman, calls these stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. I also particularly like author Scott Peck's community building model which refers to these stages as: Pseudo- Community, Chaos, Emptiness, and True Community. In this week's issue, See Your Group's Potential, we explore the attributes of each of these stages and look at how understanding these milestones can help your group navigate them without retreating.

Facilitating at a Distance coming December 7th : Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation. This class is for those of you wanting to offer a teleclass but don't feel you have all the skills and knowledge you need to do so, or for managers working with distributed teams that require you to facilitate virtual meetings. See details at the end of this issue. Register by November 24th at a discount.

Two New Blogs.
I recently started two new blogs. One is on the topic facilitation and allied disciplines at Please go there and sign up to receive updates and post your comments and questions. I also started a new blog on health and wellness with a close friend at We look forward to your comments, questions, and postings there as well.

I'm now a serious LinkedIn Networker!
I'm finally jumping on the bandwagon and diving into the social networking craze. I'm beginning to see the value in it, focusing primarily on LinkedIn for business purposes. If you are a serious open networker and would like to connect, please click here to join my network. Also, if you feel so inclined to leave a recommendation based on my work with this ezine and/or FacilitatorU, I would very much appreciate that!




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facilitator questions
The Point

See Your Group's Potential
Understand team evolution and hold a larger vision for your group.

Group Process Skill

Groups tend to evolve through a fairly predictable series of stages over time. A very popular model developed by Bruce Tuckman, calls these stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. I also particularly like author Scott Peck's community building model which refers to these stages as: Pseudo- Community, Chaos, Emptiness, and True Community.

Most groups that come together hang out in the Forming or Pseudo- Community stage, particularly if they lack a good facilitator. In this stage, people spend lots of energy trying to be "nice" and polite with one another. In this stage, the energy of each individual is more focused on how they appear to others than on fully disclosing their positions and interests.

The Storming or Chaos stage is reached if a group hangs together long enough to begin shedding it's facade. People begin to express their truth, often in very ineffective ways, i.e. through blaming, shouting, pouting, withdrawing, etc. When groups reach this stage, they often retreat back into the Pseudo- Community stage for comfort. After all, our culture has taught us to avoid conflict and fighting, right? Now let's be good boys and girls and quit fighting, OK? The problem with this approach is that it keeps us trapped in mediocrity as a group.

If the group should somehow stay the course and find their way through the Chaos or Storming stage, they may reach the stage of Norming or Emptiness. In this stage, members begin to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and seek roles that best fit their abilities and desires.

Finally, as a group perseveres, they reach the stage or Performing or True Community where fantastic accomplishments can be made by a group whose individuals are now closely aligned on their intent to work together. They are now in a position to resolve personal differences and agendas that once blocked their progress and are ready to work together to tackle difficult problems.

Many groups never transcend all of these stages and find themselves stuck in one, or oscillating between two stages. It's also perfectly normal for groups to move in and out of several of these stages over time. 

Each group is different and only their commitment to their own growth and to each other, coupled with the mastery of the facilitator, will determine how far they come together. Ultimately, it's useful to know that a higher vision for any group is possible and the more members that hold and act on this vision, the more likely it will be attained.


How many groups have you been in where members resist sharing what's standing between them? There may be something one member does that continues to push a button of yours, thus distracting you from fully engaging your energies in the group. There may be tensions below the surface between you and other members that are ignored and never addressed. Or there may be processes the group uses that you find to be limiting, frustrating, or just plain ineffective.

How often have you sensed any of these things and done nothing? Why is that? Could it be that you just didn't want to rock the proverbial boat? Or maybe you just didn't know how to say it in a nice way. Or maybe you have spoken out in the past and people got angry, so now you keep quiet.

If any of this sounds familiar it's because that's where most groups hang out, in the space between Pseudo-Community (not rocking the boat) and Chaos (telling their truth). This is where you as a facilitator can help. You can help group members share their truth in a supportive fashion, knowing that if this truth stirs emotions, that it's OK, and that by allowing these emotions or disagreements, the group has the opportunity to move through them to a far more powerful level of functioning.


I’m interested in hearing your perspectives on this and how this information might help you facilitate groups as either a leader or as a participant. I'd love to hear your comments on this perspective or experiences you have to share. Just reply to this email.

This Week's Offer

Facilitating at a Distance Teleclass...
The Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation

Virtual Meetings

Have you considered offering a teleclass as a more efficient way to deliver training, enhance group learning and generate more income for your business? Or, are you working with a distributed team that requires you to design and facilitate virtual meetings?

When done right, Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings (T/VM) are very effective and inexpensive ways to train, collaborate, and problem-solve. But if they aren't effectively facilitated, T/VM's can be a boring waste of time!

Remove the fear and uncertainty of teleclass/virtual meeting design and facilitation with this 5-day teleclass series: Leading at a Distance: The Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation, led by Steve Davis, Founder of,
December 7th-11th, 2009, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time),
60 minutes each day.

This class covers all the elements of T/VM facilitation using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. This course, that you can take from the comfort of your own home or office, is for facilitators, trainers, coaches, who want to design relevant, engaging, experiential workshops for groups using a simple, proven formula that's easy to apply to any workshop topic.

Learn how to design and run a T/VM that will maximize the use of your group's time and energy.

By the end of the 5 days, you will:

  • Have learned the key skills needed to effectively facilitate a Teleclass/Virtual Meeting.Know how to balance interactivity with meeting purpose.  Become familiar with the 10 modes of delivering learning and information in a virtual environment.Know mistakes to avoid when facilitating your T/VM.Learn the 7 Keys to the Inner Game of T/VM Facilitation.
  • And much more...

Click here for full details and registration
. Membership Option

Become a Premium member and purchase for these teleclasses for 30% off the regular price in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

About the satisfaction guarantee

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.

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