a Multi-Dimensional Facilitator
requires awareness and action at all levels: physical, thinking,
emotional, intuitive, energy, spiritual and synergistic.
It's important to know that most of
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 wholey 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 do an
excellent job of describing the characteristics and actions an
effective facilitator must attend to each of the following
levels of being:
Spiritual or Ritual 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.
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.)
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Skill Related Resource
Art of Facilitation, by
Hunter, Anne Bailey, Bill Taylor.
The Art of Facilitation provides
a superb training resource for facilitators and enables group
members to understand facilitation and to take on this role
themselves. It also provides access to the source of group
empowerment and shows how to create group synergy.
Divided into four major
components, this book will give you the insight, tools and
resources you need to help your group work easily and more
Provides an in-depth examination
of the art of intervention and cooperative beliefs and values
underlying facilitation for creating group synergy.