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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0066| August 13, 2002
5,700 Subscribers

Training Skill

Quit Teaching. Facilitate Learning-- Part I

The Point

In speaking with my friend, Ken Kesslin the other day, he pointed out that in his experience, facilitation skills are still largely unknown in mainstream culture, just as coaching skills once were. Hence, it's much more effective to speak to the direct application of facilitation skills to the results one seeks to achieve

So in the next two issues, we will explore the application of facilitation skills to teaching and training. We'd also like to hear your thoughts on this approach and about those areas you'd like to see us focus on in future issues. Please email me your comments.


1. Maintain a Vigilant Habit of Self-Examination. This is the most challenging requirement for self-mastery for both students and facilitators. So facilitators must take the lead in modeling this for their students. Effective facilitators have moved beyond the need to look good, know it all, and be in control in favor of behaving in a way that facilitates maximum learning. This surely entails a lifelong challenge for us all!

2. Cultivate and Protect an Environment of Trust. Again, facilitators must model an attitude of life-long learning, support, and authenticity to gain the student's trust. The last thing any student needs is harsh criticism. Facilitators must generously share, display, and admit their own mistakes and weaknesses to clearly show students that we are human too. And, they must maintain a safe environment for the students by enforcing ground rules that keep the space safe for all to share.

3. Shift from Victim Thinking to Creative Thinking. This is an extremely difficult transition for students and often for facilitators as well. After all, we were all trained in essentially the same institutional paradigm that supports the concepts of blame and fault. We can always give someone or something power over us then blame them for our circumstances. Therefore, it's critical for facilitators to model and encourage the perspective that "I Create it All." Meaning that we can choose our interpretation of and reactions to our experiences, taking back our power for constructive change in our lives.

4. Release Investment in Outcomes and Trust in the Process. It's difficult to assure that the learning outcome of a given exercise goes as planned. Therefore, learning facilitators need to be ready and willing to dance with the students, so to speak. That is, we must view the lesson simply as a catalyst or a tool whose purpose is to invite powerful learning opportunities into the present moment. Facilitator's must keenly observe these opportunities, and be prepared to facilitate learning in the ways and means that students can internalize. In essence, the facilitator must Trust in the Process (of being honest and present). This is a useful mantra for both students and facilitators, reminding us that whatever unfolds is right for the students at that particular time. It reminds us to look for learning opportunities instead of for successes or failures.

5. Be Firm but Compassionate. Levels of self-mastery will vary based on the student group you're working with. But in general, I don't believe that many of us have been help to very high standards of behavior in the mainstream. Mediocrity sabotages self-mastery. So develop and reach agreement on high standards. Then firmly, compassionately, and consistently enforce them. The classroom must be treated as a workplace, requiring students to be on time, be responsible for their own behavior, for their ability to get along with others and to be accountable for the quality of their work. And at the same time, invitations to live up to these standards can be expressed with compassion and detachment.


Assess your performance as a facilitator/trainer in the above areas. Choose one of them to focus on this week. Journal about your challenges and gains in this area and commit to at least one new action to implement in your facilitation practice. Please email me your comments.

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Reader Survey 

How can an executive, manager, teacher, trainer, business owner, coach, administrator, or  community leader benefit from applying
facilitation skills in their work?

Please email me your tips, ideas, approaches, and benefits of applying facilitation skills in these various arenas. Or, please let me know if you can think of other areas not listed that might benefit from these skills. I'll send the entire collection to those who contribute.

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.

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About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to reach  their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. Or call me at 800-216-3854. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 

In the Spotlight

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Advanced Facilitation & Consulting Skills Practicum
Using Self As Instrument
With Linda Lehtonen 

October 7-11, 2002, Bowen Island, 
near Vancouver, Canada 

Who Should Attend
· Leaders, facilitators and professionals who want to deepen their leadership, facilitation, teambuilding, consulting skills or human relations skills
· Anyone seeking a quantum growth in self awareness and awareness of self in relation to others.

Workshop Objectives
1. Increase your understanding of individual, team and organizational functioning by understanding systems theory
2. Understand more about your own team behavior
3. Learn how to facilitate teams to high performance
4. Learn to assess problems and help teams to resolve interpersonal conflicts
5. Develop strategies and design interventions for team building
6. Learn to use self as the instrument of change
7. Utilize a framework of interventions consistent with your own style and organizational culture
8. Understand how you get in your own way in facilitating groups

Principles Which Guide This Program
Trust your hunches - learn to use your feelings as a group barometer
Trust the process - learn to detach from outcome and let go of your need to control
Be authentic in your role - learn how to develop your character and forget about your reputation
Meet people where they are - learn to be in a place of compassion, integrity and love instead of fear.
Be present and grounded- learn to be fully in the moment and mindful of all that is going on 

These principles guide the facilitation process. Each principle is explored fully in the 5-day workshop. Participants will be both members of consulting teams and facilitators/consultants to another team. This will enable you to experience working your own team issues. Your team will contract work with another team, diagnose their needs, design and implement an intervention. The workshop is primarily experiential with theoretical inputs. This is an intense residential program which involves some evening work.

What People Say
"…better presentations [according to my reviewers] by staying in the moment that Linda demonstrates so very well ......also did a special presentation about the 'heart connection' these are the two constants and most enduring facets I have taken from the seminar. They serve me more every day in the way I present myself... I can just be and lessen my judgment and opinion mindset..." -John Sweetnam, President, CDS Group of Companies 

"My experience attending Linda's Advanced Facilitation Skills course vastly exceeded my expectations. What I learned about my own effect on group interaction and about my personal reaction to some group dynamics has continually improved my skill and confidence as a facilitator. I've recommended this course to many of my colleagues and all have returned from the experience with a sense of renewal and excitement."-- Linda Padfield, Director of Organizational Development, Inco 

"Within 1 hour of beginning our 5-day retreat, Linda created an environment that invited direct talk about deeply felt issues. Her own willingness to be transparent to others invites like disclosure. Her compassion, skillful discernment, and sense of humor, provide loving challenge and new insights for everyone in the room! -- Karen Shuttleworth, Educator/Facilitator, St. Joseph's Health Centre 

About Linda Lehtonen
Linda is a master facilitator who has worked all over the globe. She is able to facilitate groups from a place of extreme conflict, confusion and chaos, and "stuckness" to a place of productivity, harmony and community. She has developed her ability to intuitively tune in to individuals and groups and cut to the heart of what might be blocking people from moving forward and living more calmly and healthfully. She works with people from a place of authenticity, profound respect and compassion. 

Linda believes in giving people practical tools to help them live more fully and serve others in their organizations. Three major guiding principles she works from are to trust her hunches, to trust the process, and to be authentic. Her work has had a profound impact on thousands of people in helping them transform themselves, 
the workplace and their lives.

About Katherine Maas 
Katherine Maas will be joining Linda for the Bowen Island program. She is a personal coach and learning consultant with over 20 years experience developing leaders and facilitators. Throughout her varied career, her focus has always been on improving human and organizational effectiveness by improving human systems, communication, and relationships. She facilitates from a passionate belief that personal and interpersonal mastery are essential prerequisites for successful and balanced groups and organizations. 

A continuous learner, Katherine holds an MA and has completed extensive human relations training. She reads voraciously and excels at cross-disciplinary thinking. 

Location, Costs, and Registration

Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada (near Vancouver)
Dates: October 6-11, 2002

Where: Bowen Lodge by the Sea, Bowen Island, BC. A peaceful, natural setting only 20 minutes by ferry from Vancouver. A car is not required on Bowen Island, though you may choose to bring one. You can take a bus or cab to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal to catch the Bowen Island Ferry. Ferry service is approximately hourly from about 6 am until about 9:30 pm. For exact schedule information, see or phone BC Ferries at (250) 386-3431.

Cost: CDN$ 3084.20 single occupancy (all taxes included) 
CDN$ 2896.70 double occupancy (all taxes included)
A good deal for US residents: Canadian dollar is worth approximately $0.65 US. Price includes 5 nights accommodation and all meals, beginning with dinner at 6 pm October 6 through lunch October 11. The program finishes at noon on October 11. 

Information and Registration: Contact Katherine Maas at 604-985-2245, or email

Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on August 20, 2002.   

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