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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0009 | July 10, 2001
3,500 subscribers

 

 

Relating Skill

Be Ignorant 

Empower others to solve their own problems and process their own issues.

 

 

The Point?

As facilitators, it's not our job to "fix" anyone or to have any solutions. Our job is to help our participants expand the horizons of their awareness, and to facilitate them taking responsibility for their actions, past, present, and future. Yet when we're in front of the room facilitating a group or leading a teleconference, it's sometimes difficult to remember that just because we're leading, it doesn't mean that we have to be an "authority" on the subject at hand. In fact, the amount of brilliance unleashed in your participants may depend on how well you let go of your need to have all the answers, The way most of us were raised and schooled, we were conditioned to shut up and listen to the wisdom of the "expert" on the podium. But if we consistently approach our facilitation from the perspective that the wisdom in the "room" is far more potent than the "sage" in front of the room, you'll see your participants more engaged, having more fun, and achieving greater results. It will also take a huge burden off of you as the facilitator, because now you won't need to know everything, or anything for that matter. 


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Example

You're facilitating a group of people focused on their relationship challenges. One member of the group throws an impossible situation at you. You have no idea how to solve the problem presented. You are really stumped and you don't know how to respond. If you begin thinking, "Wow, I'm supposed to be the "expert" on relationships and I'm clueless here. I need to come up with something brilliant, or change the subject pronto!" Then you'll probably get real uptight and offer little value to your participants. But if you decide instead to just admit what's going on with you and say for instance, "Hey. You've really stumped me with this one. I really don't know what to say. What does this bring up for the rest of you in the group?" You will have actually increased your level of credibility in the group by being honest. You will have empowered the group by seeking their wisdom and insights on the issue. Further, you'll quite possibly get a more balanced perspective on the issue by drawing on everyone's life experience.

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Action

The next time you're facilitating a group or even in a discussion with someone where your advice is sought, focus on drawing from them their own wisdom and experience on the subject. Notice how this changes the dynamic of the discussion. I'm interested in hearing about your experience. Please email me your thoughts, stories, and experiences.

 

 

Skill Related Resource
Games & Initiatives for Networking, Energizing and Team-Building,
by Laurie Geary
This Booklet, by Coach Laurie Geary, is filled with over 75 experiential activities that address all the stages of group development including theoretical models and suggested processing questions. Also included are quotes and readings related to teamwork and a rich bibliography. This is a great collection of field-tested experiential games and activities for trainers and facilitators, complete with clear and concise explanations. Click here to order.

 

 

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Interactive Forum
Creating Dialogue With Our Readers

In an effort to stimulate discussion on facilitation tips, tools, and processes that are relevant to your interests, we'd like to hear from you. Please post your answers to the questions at on our interactive forum to stimulate discussion on these topics.

 

 

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

 

 

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on July 17, 2001. 

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