Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0553, September 5, 2012

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Dear Friends,

With so much pressure for quick results these days, we often find ourselves skimming across the surface of complex and confusing issues. If we take a brief look into the history of complex problems and their solutions, confusing by their very nature, we find that if we're willing to wade into and be with that confusion long enough, more resilient solutions tend to emerge.

In this week's article,
Confusion as a Prerequisite to Paradigm Shifts, we share personal examples of this phenomenon that may yield some insights that can help you in your work facilitating groups and individuals.

Private Paradigm Shifting Session. If you're struggling with a persistent problem or concern, I'd be happy to help you explore it in such a way that might help you change your relationship to it so that it's no longer a problem. I practice an eclectic blend of modalities that offer a powerful, gentle, and respectful alternative to cognitive therapy that typically produces profound and lasting results, commensurate with one's willingness. Sessions usually take about an hour, and rarely need to be repeated. If you are interested in receiving a private or group phone session, contact me to discuss it.

Winter Session of the Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop (JOFC). Our Winter session of the JOFC Workshop is now open for registration! We'll be meeting the week of January 14th in Madison Wisconsin. Come and experience a rare opportunity to learn an Integrally Informed Approach to Facilitation and Collaboration essential in grappling with the increasingly complex issues we face today in business, industry, government, and education. Click here for details and registration.

I wanted to thank you for a valuable experience last week. I gained tools which will aid me in future facilitation, which was my goal. What I didn't expect to receive was further insight to what makes me "tick" - this part was surprising and personally very valuable. Thank you for the candor, integrity and being so authentic.
--2012 Workshop Participant--

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



This meeting sux

The Point

Confusion as a Prerequisite to Paradigm Shifts
Pushing for clarity and focus too early will often yield superficial results.

Intervention Skill

After a coaching session with a client the other day, I noticed a pattern that has shown up in many other areas of my life that I thought would be useful to explore with you and other group leaders.

Without sharing details, the first half of the session was a meandering affair with the sharing of many bits of information including recent experiences, reactions and feelings. While I could have facilitated a more goal-oriented focus, I felt it was important to just listen and let the natural expression proceed.

Mid-way through the session, a question bubbled up that then led us into a new depth where many of the previous ideas shared wove effortlessly and obviously into a beautiful tapestry. A weaving together that concluded with what appeared to be a significant breakthrough for her--a new relationship with and experience of a struggle that has ensued for nearly 30 years. I doubt we would have reached that new level of perspective if we had rushed after some pre-meditated result.

With so much pressure for quick results these days, we often find ourselves skimming across the surface of complex and confusing issues. If we take a brief look into the history of complex problems and their solutions, confusing by their very nature, we find that if we're willing to wade into and be with that confusion long enough, more resilient solutions tend to emerge.


While this might be a good place to offer an example of a complex business problem solved by diving deeper into the sea of uncertainty, I'm instead going to share a more personal, physical, metaphorical example, as I often like to do.

The Patio. Many years ago, I decided to take on the task of building a rock patio in my back yard. The area of the patio was about 15 foot square and I had decided to use a collection of natural slate harvested from a riverbed somewhere. The stone I acquired came in beautiful varied earth tones, as well as extreme variations in shapes, sizes, and thickness.

Creating context. I had seen my father do something similar as a child and thought it would be a cinch. I started by creating a cement footing to define the perimeter of the patio, leveled and compacted the surface, and covered it in a layer of sand. Then I set about positioning the stones so that the space between them would average a half inch or so.

Apparent lack of progress. Everyday when I came home from work, I'd spend an hour or two in the backyard working on this patio. What I soon discovered was that it was going to take a very long time to do. Trying to fit these randomly sized stones in a way that would work would be like completing a puzzle using pieces from a dozen different boxes! Almost every time I faced this project, I felt like I was simply fumbling for the first 45 minutes or so.

Emergence of a new and beautiful truth. But then something interesting would start to happen. The pieces would begin to find their places. I know this sounds strange but it seems like the most appropriate way to describe the process. It's as if my body/mind would have to familiarize itself with the shape of the available pieces and the configuration of the space long enough for it become obvious what should go where and in what order. I finished the patio and it was a beautiful piece of work!

Add Your Comments


How might you apply, or have you applied these insights to your current life or work situation? Please click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or experience.
I'd love to hear from you.

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