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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0077 | October 29, 2002
5,500 Subscribers

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 
Hello MFJ Readers. This issue explores the various roles facilitators may be called to fill in their work with groups, roles such as coach, teacher, trainer, and mentor. We look at how each of these roles differ and discuss how we might apply them at different times to be more effective as a facilitator.

Please visit the Reader Survey section and let me know what you think of my plan t
o "collect stories from the edge."

Finally, please check out the new Portable Article Bank in the Spotlight Section that I just released this week. This should be of great use to those of you who train facilitators, or for anyone in an organization seeking to educate your peers or subordinates in skills that can help them work together more effectively.
If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!
Steve Davis


Facilitator as Coach, Teacher, Trainer ...
Can facilitators be more effective crossing the boundary into other roles?

The Point

As facilitators, I think most of us will agree that our foremost role is this: to be the "keeper of the process." Yet from a practical standpoint, we will often be called to edge over slightly into roles better described by terms such as coach, teacher, trainer, and mentor. How you may ask do these roles differ? Let's take a quick look.

Facilitation as it's normally understood, refers to managing and maintaining a group process. The primary focus of the facilitator is on "how" things are going in the group. The facilitator will help the group to stick with their ground rules and guidelines that bound the process they have agreed to use to get to some end result. 

Coaching is typically practiced with individuals, and tends to be bit more directive than facilitation. Coaching focuses on helping individuals get into immediate action, while addressing barriers and support they may need to get moving quickly. Coach usually asks more of the group than pure Facilitation--often challenging the group to produce more or be more.

Group Coaching supports individuals who are part of groups with  common interests or issues. While coaching focuses on individuals in the group, the remainder of the group receives indirect benefit from witnessing individuals being coached.

Training requires that the trainer have specific knowledge in the subject of the training. The job of the trainer is to impart knowledge or skills to her students using a variety of methods at her disposal. Effective trainers will often employ facilitation and coaching skills. Note that facilitators and coaches don't necessary have experience in, nor do they focus on, the technical content in which their clients are involved.

Teaching tends to be more didactic. In other words, teachers instruct and inform their students, very much like the process I'm using right now. I'm basically telling you what I think and how I see the subject matter before us.

Mentoring involves instructing, guiding, coaching someone seeking to master a particular field that you have already mastered. Though mentoring is very "content" focused, it will also often employ teaching, training, and coaching as well.

So in summary, for the purposes of clarity, we could say that facilitation and coaching focus more on the "who" and the "how," where teaching, training, and mentoring focus more on the "what." 


Please understand that the roles we defined above are discreet terms that address aspects of a continuum of skills and approaches. Very seldom does anyone adhere to any one individual role, never crossing, even a little, into a related role. 

For example, a facilitator working with a group who passed up an opportunity to coach an individual seeking to a take an action they've been stuck on would be doing the individual and the group a great disservice. Assuming first of course that the individual consented to the coaching.

We're suggesting here that knowing and practicing the role of coach, teacher, trainer, or mentor may be appropriate at times, within the context of facilitation. And may in fact substantially increase your effectiveness as a facilitator. 

So how does one know when to cross into these other roles? I believe that knowing how to dance is partly an art, and partly having clarity and understanding with your client on their goals and the best approaches to employ that they are willing to use to get there.

For example, a client seeking your services as a facilitator to help improve teamwork in their organization may employ your services to facilitate team-building. To help individuals become better team players, you may need to coach them individually around how their behaviors are impacting the team either pro or con. You may need to "teach" them the attributes of an effective team and team player. You may need to train them in the skills held by good team players. You may need to provide an environment where enough trust is facilitated so that they feel safe sharing their fears that are keeping them from showing up as a more effective team player.

You may already be dancing between roles as a facilitator without really thinking about it. And frankly, I think that's the goal. To seamlessly show up in a way that best facilitates the results your client is after. Hopefully gaining clarity about the roles will help you fill in any gaps that may be present. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic.


Review the roles above and assess how many of them you play in your work. Would embracing a different mix of these roles improve your effectiveness in any way? If so, how? I'd love to hear what happens for you. Please email me your comments.

as a

Teaching As a Subversive Activity
by Neil Postman, Charles Weingartner

Quite simply one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read. However hard it is to get a copy, it is MUST reading for anyone involved in educating people. Heavily influenced by McLuhan, this book is devastating in showing what classrooms REALLY teach - that there is one right answer, that the teacher has it, that memorizing facts is important, that fellow students have nothing to contribute, etc etc - and how to construct an environment in which REAL learning takes place - where people learn how to learn themselves. This is one of those books that shakes one's previously-unexamined foundational assumptions of education. I cannot recommend it too highly

cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 

Emerging from self-imposed exile in virtual reality.

I'm contemplating a world (or at least U.S.) tour. This is kind of a soul-seeking, joy-seeking, magical mystery tour in dialogue with live people in the "real" world after my 2+ years in exile into the virtual world.

Why am I doing this? 

To collect Stories from the edge...what cultural creatives are doing to create lives on their own terms and to shift the culture toward a sustainable future.

I'm wanting to survey those people who consider themselves to be Cultural Creatives...people on the forefront of creating a cultural shift impacting the way we live and how we see ourselves on this planet. I want to hear your story, probe, interview, play, and document my journey and the stories I receive. With the intention that the bigger story that reveals itself through my travels might inform us with just another piece of the path we're building toward a sustainable future and of our full potential as human beings.

Possible foci
  • Life story and contribution to personal transformation of self and others Facilitating Magic in everyday life.
  • Alternative communities, alternative architecture, empowering ways of life and living.
  • Voluntary simplicity...creating healthy lifestyles in the Taker
  • Corporate Freedom, living in but beyond the corporate system; self-sustaining entrepreneurs free of corporate wage slavery.
  • Stories of Psychic, para or super-normal functioning.
  • Stories and insights into consciousness expansion and development via ritual, technological, or other means.


  • Listen to your story...and help you reflect on the story you're actually enacting. 
  • Facilitate magic in your life today via a day-long
    coaching/collaboration/support session.
  • Facilitate a group of cultural creatives in your community for a discussion on the state of their lives, the world, and what's next.
  • Speak to groups on the subject of my journey, what I'm seeing, learning, etc.
  • Talk on "The Authentic Marketer" material.
  • Talk on "Just making stuff up--surrendering to your inner creator," material.
  • Talk on Daniel Quinn material and what it means to us today.

Will probably begin this journey early next year and am just putting this feeler out for now. Please email me if you have any interest in visiting with me, sponsoring me, or introducing me to someone you know who may be interested in meeting with me, or have further suggestions, questions, or comments on this idea.

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

About the Author
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. 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

Article Bank ...

for Facilitators, Trainers, Teachers, Coaches, 
Leaders, and 

Over 50 Publishable Articles and 120 pages covering six core competency areas.

Indexed my competency and article. 

Click Here to View Table of Contents

Click Here to View Samples

We've compiled the top 50 issues of the Master Facilitator Journal into the form of an e-book collection. This collection contains the engaging content you're used to receiving in the Journal, but that has been polished and formatted into the form of publishable articles. Articles contain resources such as a useful book or website that pertains to the content, examples, and action steps to take to improve your facilitation skills.

How Will This Collection Help Me? 

a. Use articles as handouts to your team members to educate and empower them with tools to improve communication, team cooperation, meeting, and problem solving skills.
b. Useful content for facilitation and leadership training.
c. Use collection as foundation for a course in facilitation or leadership skills
d. Use as content and backup for public speaking, workshops, and seminars.
e. Use as reference resource for your own facilitation skill development.
f. Use as engaging content for your website.
g. Licensing option provides you with a new revenue source.


a. Easy to read, engaging writing style.
b. Colorful graphics.
c. Includes relevant resources with links.
d. Actions for student practice included with each article.
e. Indexed with dynamic links according to six facilitation competency areas.

1) Self-Mastery Skills: How you facilitate yourself.
2) Presence And Presenting Skills: How you show up.
3) Relating Skills: How you facilitate others.
4) Group Awareness, Management, and Exploration (GAME) Skills: How you facilitate a team.
5) Intervention Skills. How you shift a group.
6) Logistic Skills: How you facilitate your environment. Master Facilitators plan and prepare their presentations.

Purchase Options

I've spent over 200 hours writing, researching and editing these articles. You save over $10,000 if your time is worth $50 an hour! The basic option is available for $29.95. The collection is downloadable in PDF format that can be saved to hard disk, floppy, or CD ROM. Articles can be viewed on your computer or printed as desired. Check out the Table of Contents and sample articles below. 

OPTION 1: Price is $29.95 for entire collection downloadable in PDF format available immediately upon purchase. Click here to buy now.

OPTION 2: Instant Author License Option. You get the rights to resell these articles to your clients and customers. This is not an affiliate program. You keep 100% of all revenues! Our intro price is $69.95 for a limited time (retail $99.00) for the entire downloadable collection available immediately upon purchase. Click here to buy now and select reseller option.  

Click Here to Table of Contents

Click Here to View Sample Articles.

Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on November 5, 2002.   

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