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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0068| August 27, 2002
5,700 Subscribers

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

From the Publisher: 
Hello MFJ Readers. In this issue, we review some advanced perspectives on facilitation and what it means to be a facilitator. I'd like to thank my friend Jan Allen for helping me bring out these perspectives. As we move from exploring the abstract concept of facilitation to addressing its use in specific roles such as leader, educator, coach, therapist, manager, etc., we invite your comments, insights, stories, and experiences that illustrate how the facilitation skill set and perspective enhances your role. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. I'd love to hear from you. 

Thanks for reading!
Steve Davis


Our Value Lies in Our Ignorance.

The Point

Facilitators are highly regarded (at least we hope) professionals, right? We must present a strong and professional image as we're "on stage" much of the time, performing an important function for our clients, employees, students, neighbors, etc. And as is often the case with people standing in front of a room, orchestrating processes, offering feedback and advice, we are looked to as authorities, as experts, as wise men and women.

So it's not surprising when we begin to believe these things about ourselves and feel we have to live up to the "image" of the professional expert. As this image takes hold in our own minds, it may be difficult at times to not have the answer or know where to go next. In and of itself, this is not a bad place to be, however, we can really short change those we serve by withholding this information.

Huh? What are you talking about? Are you asking me to share my weakness with my people? My clients? That would be suicide! I think it's time to unsubscribe from this journal!

Now hold on dear reader. There may be another way to look at this. You see, I view Facilitation, or Facilitative (Servant) Leadership, if you will, as a kind of a spiritual task. I suggest that one of the most powerful things you can do as a leader or as a facilitator is to empower your people to access and utilize their own wisdom and problem-solving skills as a group. This is not likely to happen when they are focused on you as the authority.


Hold the space for truth and honesty. There are few places one can venture in the world where private truths can be fully shared and respected. The facilitator that gives voice to those subtle perceptions that no one sees or admits is very empowering, e.g., "I'm sorry people but I'm experiencing complete confusion right now and don't know where to go next. What to you see right now?"

Be willing to be unliked.  Putting yourself in the position of not knowing, shining the light on an unflattering behavior, or giving air time to a minority opinion can piss some people off. This may sometimes prevent you from sharing your full truth. Giving up your need to be liked by those you serve will, in the end, serve them best, and garner you respect in the long run. 

Find strength in your vulnerability. If you can view yourself as simply a catalyst for a dynamic and ongoing process, that process will evolve. A catalyst is not attached to its greatness. It is transformed in the process it seeks to catalyze. Sharing what's real for you is transforming for all concerned. Surrender to being transformed by sharing your truth irrespective of your judgments about it. "I've never been here before, I'm not sure where we're going, but I'm willing to be a mirror for you on the journey."

See through eyes of  innocence. A child doesn't anticipate the outcome of sharing her truth, and as a result, is granted the gift of living fully in the present moment. Your innocence will allow you to see through the ever-present crap of judgment, fear, and withholding. If you begin to risk trusting your truth, your vulnerability, and your innocence; if you step into who you are, not what you know, you will being leading people to themselves, and their true strength.


Where is "knowing too much" hanging you up as a leader and/or facilitator?. Choose one of the above actions to practice this week and journal your experiences. Please email me your comments.

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How can the skills of the "Facilitative Leader" improve the effectiveness of your team?

Please email me your inputs and I'll send the entire collection to those who contribute.

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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!

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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.
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a. Easy to read, engaging writing style.
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1) Self-Mastery Skills: How you facilitate yourself.
2) Presence And Presenting Skills: How you show up.
3) Relating Skills: How you facilitate others.
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6) Logistic Skills: How you facilitate your environment. Master Facilitators plan and prepare their presentations.

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on September 3, 2002.   

Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved.