Facilitator Journal | Issue #0443, May 11, 2010
This week's article will be of particular interest to new facilitators
who often doubt themselves and fear stepping out to lead a group.
And, it may also interest those experienced facilitators who may
continue to feel these feelings as well! My colleague and fellow facilitator, Fred Niziol submitted an excellent
perspective he entitles, Facilitateaphobia, about the fear
new facilitators face and what to do about it. Thank you Fred for
this contribution! I look forward to your comments on it.
Do you work with youth or adults in detention? Do you use journaling in your training or coaching? I'm working with a colleague to develop a 12-week journaling program for incarerated youth and adults. I'd like to have our plan reviewed by some trainers or facilitators who have worked with this population and/or who have a background in the use of journaling for personal discovery. If you are interested in learning more, please reply to this email with your interest.
New Fractal Facilitation Model. Check out our new comprehensive
guide to designing and facilitating
Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings based on a new Fractal Facilitation Model. Check out details here.
We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community. Please continue to send the wonderful feedback.
the Fear of Facilitation
Ive trained many facilitators and notice a feeling that appears
in the apprentices somewhere near the end of their formal training. Almost
all of them want to watch experienced facilitators work before they go
off on their own. This in itself is not a bad idea, but then they want
to watch more, and watch some more, and keep watching. At first I didnt
understand this hesitancy, then one day I had the aha. I call
it: Facilitateaphobia the fear of being the facilitator.
Strange as it sounds, facilitaeaphobia is a condition that occurs when
the facilitator begins to think about what it is they're doing while theyre
doing it. Its marked by that little voice in your head asking questions
or sometimes raising self-doubt; things like, What if they dont
like me? or, What if I miss something? It also shows
itself in random unrelated thoughts such as, Its getting close
to lunch or I really like that outfit that Peggy is wearing.
What triggers facilitaeaphobia?
Facilitateaphobia grows out of not being present to the group (see past
Presence is Your Present to Your Group) and is aggravated by
being unsure of yourself as facilitator.
If youre not sure of yourself, you allow facilitaeaphobia to take
hold. If youre not present to the group you will begin to think
about other things. This Thinker (that little voice
in your head when you use all your filters and relate things to past experience,
future possibilities or just random ideas) is not the facilitators
friend. It takes away your presence to the group. When you are present,
I say the Watcher is at work, you're there and because of
your training and experience, you know what to do without debating
it in your head. When suffering facilitateophobia, you no longer experience
the here and now of the group, but instead you experience what you think
happened the magic of facilitation is gone.
The "Thinker" vs. the "Watcher"
Here's a little background on the "Thinker and the "Watcher."
When you know something and are comfortable with your proficiency you
are the "Watcher." Take driving a car for example; it is a very
present focused activity. When you take a trip, first you plan it. You
plan where you are going. You may use a map, a GPS or it may be a familiar
destination. Once planned, you get in the car, put the key in the ignition,
start the car, check for traffic, put it in gear and off you go. During
the trip you speed up, slow down, check your interval, switch lanes and
turn signals off and on, always assessing the situation.
Yet, very rarely do you hear the "Thinker in your head. If
you do, its usually a reminder about maybe a confusing turn. You
acknowledge that thought then move on; this is the "Watcher
in operation. On the other hand, if you drive using the "Thinker
you separate yourself from the act of driving and the "Thinker
starts to put time and attention between you and the act of driving. Soon
while youre thinking about your destination or the conversation
on the cell phone you dont notice that the car in front of you is
stopped. If youre lucky, you only have a close call, but if are
still being the "Thinker then you may fear that all cars will
stop in front of you. Your proficiency as a driver is diminished. If you
dont drive, you can adapt this illustration to almost anything you
By now youve probably said to yourself, OK Fred this driving lesson
is all well and good, but, what does it have to do with Facilitateaphobia?
Great question Grasshopper (a little U.S. TV trivia!). Read on to find
How do you avoid Facilitaeaphobia?
- Be competent in the art of facilitation. Become a student of
the facilitators craft. Work on your skill set so that you dont
need to be the Thinker talking to yourself in your head, telling yourself
if this happens then Ill do that."
Thoroughly plan and prepare for the session. You will know what
to do or you will know the options to present to the group for them without
the complications that the "Thinker" brings. Fear comes from
memories and possibilities rooted in the "Thinker. You will
not suffer facilitateophobia. You have no fear of what might happen because
you, as the "Watcher, are in the here and now and this is where
present and honest with your group. As a beginning facilitator, you
may fear that you'll run across a situation that you haven't experienced
before, didn't prepare, and didn't anticipate. Well guess what, that happens
to all of us. Human dynamics are just too complex to be fully predictable
all of the time. One thing is assured however, by being fully present
and honest about what you know and don't know, you provide the group with
a clear mirror about where they are now. This is the grand gift of the
"watcher." Armed with this perspective in the here and now.
Then you can help them decide what to do next. As a facilitator, you act
as a catalyst for the group's decision-making, you are not the decision-maker!
About the Author: Fred Niziol facilitated for the US Social Security
Administration for 8 years doing IT groups, labor management IBB sessions,
strategic planning and facilitator training. He worked with community
organizations and served as a member of the IAF and the Mid-Atlantic Facilitator
Network (MAFN). He's also a contributing author to The IAF Handbook of
Add Your Comments
you suffer from Facilitateaphobia? If so, what can you take away from this
article that will help you deal with it? Please click on the Add Your Comments link above and share your thoughts, stories, and experiences. I'd love to hear from you!
This Week's Offer
Teleclass for facilitators and change agents.
skills and attitudes for the new and experienced
facilitator who wants to get their group into serious
to thank you for designing a course that lived up to its advertisement.
I found the daily curriculum practical and thought provoking.
The ideas developed each day created foundations for the lessons
to follow. Many "acts of facilitation" were immediately
applicable to my facilitation practice. The tone of each class
was a supportive learning environment. Each class ended on a
note of high-energy with encouraging words and an opportunity
for feedback. --Steven
Pyser, J.D., consultant--
Random Acts of Facilitation, 5-Day Teleclass
This pre-recorded (5 one-hour session) teleclass cover 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and
move groups forward. This course, that you can take from the
comfort of your own home or office, is for beginning facilitators,
group leaders, or group members who simply want to know more
about facilitation so that they can make their groups more effective.
These "discrete" acts of facilitation also lend themselves
to being taught to your group members who desire to become more
the Self-Guided 5-Day Format/Training works...
- You download the (5) 60-minute MP3 files or listen to them from your computer.
- You work a 25-point checklist/leaning guide during the course.
- You may access the instructor via email
for help or situational questions.
Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this 5-Hour course...
Introduction to the Facilitation
and Self Facilitation Skills.
1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
5. Me First.
Relating with compassion and understanding.
6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.
11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation
Organizing and Presenting yourself
confidently, professionally, and authentically.
17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message
Intervening to shift group energy
22. Tame the Tormentors.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path
to you of participating from the 5-Hour Random Acts of Facilitation
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation
skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team
leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Never waste another minute in an ineffective meeting again.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in
4. Learn skills to help groups make quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
5. Be a catalyst for positive change in your community.
Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Hour training described above, you also
1. Comprehensive 15-page Student Learning Guide.
access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms,
3.Free copy of the Portable
Article Bank ($29 value).
The full cost of training/access is only $79 if you register
by April 30th. ($89 for the general public) including a free
copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you
read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed
I would recommend to anyone who wants to experience excellent
modeling of what good facilitation is, to sign up for this teleclass. --Elain Wylie, Life Coach--
Self-Guided 5-Day Real Audio Version
If you'd like to learn
this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you
can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete
with the learning guide. You'll be provided with access to three
separate recorded offerings of the five-hour teleclass (15 hours
total) that you can listen to online and follow along in the
learning guide is used in the live class. Click
here to purchase for $79. We will also include a
free copy of the Portable
Article Bank ($29 value) with your purchase. We offer
a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.
Self-Guided MP3 for $79
Self-Guided 5-Day CD Version
The Compact Disk (CD)
version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above,
together with 5 CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen
to anywhere you have access to a CD player.
Self-Guided CD for $89 plus $4 S&H
in a one-day "live" version of this class offered
to your group? Email us to
the satisfaction guarantee
for any reason, you are not satisfied with these products,
simply email us with a request to refund/credit your
credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately.
It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every
Become a member of FacilitatorU.com
and receive these ebooks for free
in addition to a host of other items and benefits.
An exceptional value. Click
here for details.
you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are f$ree
to do so providing you follow these guidelines.
by recommendation only when you find our material of use! If you enjoyed
this issue, we'd love it if you'd spread the word. Click
here to use our interactive form to tell your friends about MFJ, and
as a thank you, you will receive our f$ree Facilitator's Self Assessment.