Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0536, May 1, 2012

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Dear Friends,

One of a facilitator's (particularly a new facilitator's) greatest fears is the possibility that the group will object to what's they're doing or not cooperate with them in some way. This week's article, Hey Mr. Facilitator, This isn't Working! 
explores how we might handle direct challenges to our facilitation within a group.

Job Opportunity. Are you a facilitator with a background in the Airline Industry (as clients or employers)? If so and you're interested in a four-month project, email me and I'll send you the info.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you. We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community and please continue to send your wonderful feedback.


Steve Davis


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Teleclass Facilitation

The Point

Hey Mr. Facilitator, This isn't Working! 
Challenges toward the facilitator are valid and need to be attended to immediately.

Group Process Skill

One of a facilitators (particularly a new facilitators) greatest fears is the possibility that the group will object to what's they're doing or not cooperate with them in some way. 

Challenges may come to you directly through verbal objections: "This process isn't working"..."Your style isn't working with our group"..."Why do you keep interrupting us?"...etc.

Challenges may also come indirectly through behaviors: Participants are slow to respond to your suggestions, they talk amongst themselves, they are ignoring you, members take over the facilitation role without consent, participants consistently arrive back late from breaks, etc.

Challenges such as these, particularly direct challenges, are not only valid forms of communication from the group, but signs of a mature group that's strong enough to challenge what they feel isn't working. Challenges need to be resolved immediately by restating the challenge back to the group, asking for clarification if needed, and checking with the entire group for consensus. 

If the group concurs that something needs to change, ask them to suggest a process or direction they think is appropriate. If their isn't a strong consensus, you might suggest continuing on the present course to see if things clear up and revisit the issue later in the meeting. If a single participant brought up the issue and doesn't agree to this, then ask them to make a specific request.

Remember that you are only one member of the group and that you require their support and cooperation to help them reach their goals. If something isn't working, it's the entire groups' responsibility to get to the source of the problem.

Ultimately, it may turn out that you're not the right facilitator for this group at this time. This is not necessarily a reflection on your abilities, it just may be that your skills or style don't fit their needs at this time. Elicit any feedback you can from the group and check to see if you can use it in the future to improve. Acknowledge that you're OK and they're OK and move on. 


Be Curious and Accepting. If you're in a group and have received challenges like any of those listed above, an attitude of acceptance and openness is a critical first step. Open curiosity and acceptance of criticism is rarely seen in our culture. This attitude alone is sometimes enough for a breakthrough. From this stance, you and the group will be able to hear and receive information that may help you move forward.

Solicit Suggestions. Ask group members for specific perceptions and feedback. Here is some sample language for that: There have been several challenges to my facilitation at this meeting. I can only fulfill this role with your consent and support. Let's have a look at what is and isn't working for each person.

Then go around the room and get input from every participant. If any of the inputs are unclear, ask that they be restated until you understand them and ask one of the members record responses. If next actions aren't clear by going through this process, make or ask for suggestions in resolving the issues noted.

Add Your Comments


Reflect on any challenge you've received as a facilitator. What have you learned from it? Has what you've learned helped you to be a better facilitator? We'd love to hear your perspective on this important subject. Click on Add Your Comments and share your questions, feedback, or experience on this topic.

This Week's Offer

Random Acts of Facilitation

Basic Facilitation Course for Facilitators and Change Agents

Discrete skills and attitudes for the new and experienced facilitator who wants to get their group into serious motion

I want 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 self-facilitative.

How 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.

5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this 5-Hour course...

Session 1
Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Session 2
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.

Session 3
Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Session 4
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

Session 5
Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Hour Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
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 contact with.
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 receive:
1. Comprehensive 15-page Student Learning Guide.
2. Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
3.Free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

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 MP3 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


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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