Train the Facilitator

Module learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module the learner will be able to apply knowledge and skills to prepare for and facilitate group discussions in a learning/training context. This includes the following:  Structuring discussions to achieve specific learning outcomes;  Use of micro facilitation skills ( example rephrasing etc) to advance the learning process;  Coordinate and manage the group dynamic in support of optimal learning.

Module learning objectives
After completion of the module the learner should:  Have an awareness of the definition of facilitation, facilitation in support of learning and decision making as well as the role and function of the facilitator;  Have an awareness of the role of facilitation in the change management process;  Have and awareness of the applications as well as benefits of facilitation;  Know what the desired characteristics and competencies of a facilitator are;  Know the key principles of quality facilitation;  Have an awareness of what drives people¶s behaviour;

Module learning objectives (continued)

After completion of the module the learner should:  Understand how effective communication improve the facilitation process;  Understand the structure of the facilitation process;  Apply the structure of the facilitation process to develop prepare for a basic facilitation;  Apply micro facilitation skills to guide discussion to a logical conclusion;  Apply practical facilitation techniques to promote participation, creative idea generation and decision making in a learning context.


Definition of facilitation;  Facilitation is about change;  Applications and benefits of

facilitation;  Characteristics and competencies of the facilitator;  Key principles of quality facilitation;  Basics of understanding people;  Basics of communication;  The anatomy of the facilitation process.

Every man without passion has within him no principle of action, nor motive of act. Claude Adrien Helvetius

´And we will not cease from exploration but at the end of all our exploration, we will arrive where we started and know it for the first timeµ. T.S. Elliot

Definition of facilitation

"to free from difficulties or obstacles; make easier, aid, assist." 
The role of the facilitator - to

design and coordinate a process that helps a group accomplish, while optimizing group functioning;  The facilitator is a neutral guide who takes an active role in guiding the process while adhering to principles of effective facilitation.

Definition of facilitation

Workshops function around the exchange of information among participants and is essentially aimed at decision making..

Definition of facilitation

The role of the facilitator is to coordinate this exchange by prescribing procedural steps, initiating and guiding discussion and by adjusting procedures during a workshop to fit the personal, cultural and professional characteristics of participants.

Definition of facilitation

Facilitation of learning revolves around coordinating the learning of participants. In this process the facilitator is also a resource in the learning process.

"Observe how all things are continually being born of change ... Whatever is, is in some sense the seed of what is to emerge from it." Marcus Aurelius

Facilitation is about change
Im plem ented Business Solutions

Di l


l Int r

nti n Pr
onitoring Im plem entation Dial gue



E isting Int r nti ns?

Caucus L ying


ti n


? nti ns?


E i ting Int r

Facilitation is about change

Determine eed/ opportunit

Concept exploration


Implementation/ xecution

Finish/ Close out

Facilitation is about change

Facilitation is about change

Applications of facilitation 

Analysis and action      

research; Structured decision making; Planning in all its forms; Problem solving; Conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation; Learning (training and development); Team development.

Benefits of facilitation 
Experience show that clients have come

to expect the following results and benefits from facilitation: 
Improving decision making;  Improving group dynamics;  Assisting decision makers through second

order change (transformation); 
Creative problem solving;  Achieving common focus and priorities for

groups with divergent views ; 
Challenging existing paradigms;  Improved planning;  Higher levels of buy in and ownership for

planning and change.

Characteristics of a good facilitator
. Enjoy working with and helping people to feel with, good about themselves and achieve their desired results; 2. Ability to analyze comments, understand how they relate to the topic, and develop appropriate responses; 3. Communicate clearly by making specific, concise points, using appropriate levels of energy to build excitement and enthusiasm; 4. Practice active listening by engaging a speaker, listening attentively, and asking probing questions; 5. Convey warmth to others by using smiles, praises, and gestures in one-on-one and group interactions; 6. Demonstrate self-confidence and leadership selfwhen working with others, being the person others look to for direction and counsel; 7. Have a business-orientation with an interest in businessfinding methods to improve the way things are done, looking beyond the narrow focus of a job to the greater scope of the business.

Please note: These characteristics should not be construed as mandatory requirements for trainees. Instead, they are intended to serve as a guideline or starting point for identifying potential facilitators. Most people can become skilled in facilitation given the right training.

Habits of an effective facilitator 
Habit #1: Be Proactive. Take


Habit #2: Begin With The End In

Mind. Decide first what the outcome of the workshop should be. Preparation and logistics are as important as the process; 

Habit # 3: Put First Things First. 

Habit #4: Think Win/Win. Seek

solutions so everyone wins; 

Habit #5: Seek First to Understand.

Listen until you understand; 

Habit #6: Synergize. Cooperate

creatively. Create a climate where people can ³speak out´; like golf ± you always have something to learn (stay humble). 

Habit #7 is Renewal. Facilitation is

Facilitator competencies 

Workshop design; Coordinate discussion to logical conclusion; Use tools and techniques to create a participative environment e.g. ice breakers, games, activities using drawings, diagrams, role play, discussions in pairs, small groups etc; Creating an atmosphere of trust, confidence and support; Promoting empowerment of participants, and being able to let go and trust the group; Transferring a sense of ownership and responsibility to the participants, Exercise effective listening; Use micro facilitation skills to move discussion to a desired conclusion (example, paraphrasing); Use tools and techniques for analysis, problem solving, generating creative solutions, prioritizing and decision making; Communicating verbally (including making presentations) and in writing. 


Ke principles of qualit facilitation 
Trusts the process;  Believing that groups can

make good decisions; 
Ensuring participation;  Be a neutral guide;  Foster group work;  Using effective processes;  Harnessing diversity;  Builds trust;  Goal orientated, and  Learn from experience.

Basics of understanding people
"The White Man does not understand the Indian for the reason that he does not understand America. He is too far removed from its formative processes. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and soil. The white man is still troubled by primitive fears; he still has in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent, some of its vastnesses not yet having yielded to his questing footsteps and wandering eyes. He shudders still with the memory of the loss of his forefathers upon its scorching deserts and forbidding mountain tops. The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent. But in the Indian the spirit of the land is still vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet rhythm. Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers bones." Chief Luther Standing Bear, in his 1933 autobiography

Basics of understanding people

Emotional Intelligence: ³The capacity to handle your own emotions and your relationships with others.´
U.S. News & World Report The Secret Skill of Leaders 1/14/2002

Basics of understanding people  


Emotional high jacking: Heart 10 beats per minute above resting rate - can jump 30 beats per minute within single heart beat; Body pumping adrenaline and other disruptive hormones; Swamped by toxic/angry feelings; Thinking distorted, difficulty organizing thoughts and feeling overwhelmed.

Basics of understanding people 

The foundation of positive

influencing is relationships;  Good relationships are underpinned by ³liking´;  While there are other ways to influence people (fear, the need for compliance etc), sustainable influence has at its heart, good relations ± and it is generally easier to influence people who like and respect you.
It is easier to influence people who like you«


Ninety percent of executives rate themselves as effective communicators. Only thirty percent of their subordinates agree.


The biggest problem with (leadership) communication is the illusion that it has occurred. occurred.


Facts alone seldom persuade and rarely inspire; To communicate effectively you need to have the skills of a story teller.


Let us remember those who«


How big is an acre of land..

The size of a football field


³What we sell is the opportunity for a 43 year-old accountant to dress up in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him.´
Harley executive, quoted in Results-based Leadership


‡ It is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not the person to do such a thing please do not read this notice ± Hotel in Tokyo; ‡ The manager has personally passed the water served here ± Hotel in Acapulco; ‡ You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid ± Hotel in Tokyo; ‡ Drop your trousers here for best results ± Dry cleaner in Bangkok.

Anatom of the facilitation process

Anatom of the facilitation process

Process onl (pure facilitation)

Content onl (presentation skills)

Anatom of the facilitation process


We don¶t live half as good as we know how to already«.

Invitations include: 
     Letter of invitation Purpose of workshop Agenda Date and times Venue Arrangements for sleep over, sustenance etc Venue Dates and times for tea, meals etc Equipment required Business required Treatment of VIP's 

Coordinate and confirm 

Pre workshop inspections and meetings to confirm all logistical arrangements

Anatom of the facilitation process


Registering of candidates proper desk and administrative assistance;  Personal reception - ensure that all delegates are settled;  Brief delegates re:  Meals. teas, times;  Sleep-over Sleeparrangements if applicable.

Anatom of the facilitation process

Acknowledge people 

Proper introductions;  Allow for rituals without being

offensive to certain sections of the group.

Acknowledge people 
Introductions accomplish many things for the session participants:  they break the ice,  help form relationships and trust, and  provide information to help the team form and norm.  For facilitators, introductions also add value by providing insight into participant personality, interest level, and biases. 

They encourage buy-in to the process and assist in the review of concepts and issues.  Introductions are powerful tools that every facilitator should exploit.

Acknowledge people 
Do some sort of introduction  


at the start of each session; Pick people from various locations in the room when soliciting volunteers; don't "go around the room" and let the person at the very end of the line get nervous waiting for his or her turn; Make introductions fun and nonnon-threatening; Listen to what is said, and Use the information to ensure session success.


Acknowledge people 
Ask participants to state their

names, area of responsibility, years with the company, expectations for the session, and a one-word description of onethemselves. Write the expectations on a flip chart; keep a running total of the of years of experience. 

Purpose: a low risk

Practical exercise

introduction to use when the group is first getting together; provides participants with basic information; gives group a sense of the group's total experience level; gives the facilitator insight into what to expect.

Acknowledge people 

Welcome Mat: Mat: 
Create a welcome mat using a piece of flipchart paper.  Tom wrote ³Welcome´, ³Relax´ and ³Have Fun´ on the flipchart paper and drew a graphic of a happy person.  Place it on the floor where people have to step on it.

Practical exercise 

I found myself stopping to read it, smiling at its silliness and then walking on into the room with a more ³at ease´ feeling.

Acknowledge people 
Pair up the participants, preferably

with people they don't know. Ask participants to interview each other on several topics: name, title, expected contribution to the session, family, home, hobbies, interests. Each interviewer introduces his partner to the group; 
Purpose: a fun, non-threatening way non-

to get participants to open up more and to get to know each other on many levels, including non-work nonareas; especially useful if the group is going to meet over a long period of time; encourages individuals to put "skin in the game" during the session by focusing on what they bring to the table.

Practical exercise

Acknowledge people 
Ask participants to share an

observation about a previous session - something they learned, a question, a metaphor to describe their feelings, or a symbol that describes the progress of the group;  Purpose: a way to build on relationships, provide continuity between sessions, check for understanding, demonstrate expertise, provide insight into how participants are feeling and relating to each other.

Practical exercise

Acknowledge people 
Provide participants with a

situation: "If you had a dinner party and could invite anyone (living or dead), who would it be? Why?" or "In your next life, what (animal, person, thing) would you like to be reincarnated as? Why?" 
Purpose: provides sharing of

Practical exercise

values and interests; helps others to know how they think, feel and make decisions; a fun way to help people be seen in a "non-work" role. "non-

Acknowledge process 


purpose;  Outline agenda;  Allow adoption of the agenda.

Manage anticipation

nsure that in any icebreaker, game, exercise you have the participants engage in has a purpose and that you emphasize that point when the exercise is complete. Most people don¶t feel they have time for games.

Manage anticipation 


For a group of obvious resistors, try the 18 reasons exercise: Have the group brainstorm 18 reasons why they shouldn¶t be in the session (if appropriate, have them break into smaller groups); There are usually a few reasons the participants believe as to why they shouldn¶t be there - however, as they are trying to come up with 18 reasons, answers get sillier and tension begins to dissipate; Have one or two participants come up to the front and record the suggestions offered by the group; Acknowledge the more serious of the reasons and adjust agenda and process as necessary.

Practical exercise

Manage anticipation
.......hear what I mean  To highlight the importance of verbal communication, try this exercise from Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) Consulting Facilitating Business Solutions class: Write the following words on a flip or overhead:  


Alwa s; Usuall ; ometimes; eldom; ever.

Practical exercise

Have each participant associate each word with a percentage of time (e.g., Always is 100%, Never is 0%, etc.)  Have the group read their answers while you record the percentages or the highest and lowest for each word.  Note the disparity of the answers to the group and encourage the group to communicate candidly and precisely. 

Manage participation 

Enable the group to raise

issues - in a nonnonjudgemental fashion;  At this point only allow questions for clarification;  Use appropriate facilitation techniques - brainstorming; Nominal Group Technique; SWOT Analysis; Projective Techniques.

Manage participation


Manage participation

ominal Group Technique

Manage participation

Projective techniques

Manage participation

Projective techniques

Manage participation
Purpose of the SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis is a structured methodology used to create a current view on our business. It include that which we are good at, not so good at, risks for the future and based on the before mentioned, opportunities that might result from it.
Strengths Weaknesses

What are we good at? In what are we an internal benchmark or even world class?

What can we improve on? This is preventing us from optimal performance.



If we can achieve this, we will significantly change/improve our business. This is within our power to achieve in good time.

Internal or external risks to our business. Not addressing this, might imply business failure in future.

Manage creativit 
Tell it to our Grann :  Imagine an old granny on the far

side of the Lewis who speaks only the Gaelic and has not yet been introduced to electricity. She has heard about 'computers' and asks you to explain what they are;  This exercise tests your understanding of a concept because you cannot use the jargon. You have to explain using 'plain English' (or Gaelic if you have it). In the process of trying to explain in a simple way you invariably come up with new ways of looking at the situation.

Practical exercise

Manage creativit
Lateral Thinking: 

Sometimes you have to use creative thinking to come up with new ideas. Edward de Bono's technique called Lateral Thinking helps your mind to escape from its normal ruts and to see new possibilities and directions. There are four main strategies each of which has many techniques. The Four Strategies: Recognize dominant ideas: Identify main ideas and write them down; Search for different wa s of looking at things: Decide in advance that you will look at the problem from six (?) different points of view - and then do it; Relax the rigid control of vertical thinking: Make a deliberate logical/factual mistake and see where it leads you (e.g. boys and girls must use the same toilets); Make use of chance: Pick an object at random and see how it might be relevant to the topic under discussion. 


Manage creativit

ÅPeople used to believe that creativity was a gift that a lucky few were born with. In fact, all people have a degree of creativity - they just lose it as they grow older. Schools don´t foster the don´ imagination; stodgy companies discourage people from taking risks.´ (Report from the future, in: Fast Company April 1999)
Changing perspective

Manage creativit 

A woman was waiting at an airport one night With several long hours before her flight She hunted for a book in the airport shop Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop She was engrossed in her book but happened to see That the man beside her as bold as could be Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene She munched cookies and watched the clock As this gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by Thinking "If I wasn't so nice I'd blacken his eye" With each cookie she took he took one too And when only one was left she wondered what he'd do With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh He took the last cookie and broke it in half He offered her half as he ate the other She snatched it from him and thought "Oh brother This guy has some nerve and he's also rude Why he didn't even show any gratitude" She had never known when she had been so galled And sighed with relief when her flight was called She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate She boarded the plane and sank in her seat Then sought her book which was almost complete As she reached in her baggage she gasped with surprise There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes "If mine are here" she moaned with despair "Then the others were his and he tried to share" "Too late to apologize she realized with grief" That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief

Manage creativit

Changing perspective

Manage creativit

Changing perspective

Manage creativit

Changing perspective

Manage creativit    

Sunglasses can be used in a vision validation workshop because we were creating a future so bright everyone had to wear shades; Brain Floss Œ by Professor Brain will be a great hit for "clearing out cobwebs". It consists of a plastic head band that goes behind your head and over your ears. There¶s a white string threaded through the headband. When you pull the string back and forth, it looks like you¶re flossing your brain just as if you were flossing your teeth; Use Playdoh® modeling clay for reducing stress and "building the future³; Other toys such as foam balls, yo-yos, wind-up dinosaurs and cars, and mini flying disks were used as needed for generating creativity, and building energy and rapport. At the end of the workshop, arrange to donate the leftover toys to a local children¶s home.

Manage creativit

Manage discussion 

Paraphrasing ± Re stating to

reflect meaning, and test own understanding  Rephrasing ± Phrasing in own words to make understanding clearer for all and identifying the essence of what is being said  Summary ± Taking the essence at the end of a discussion and using it not only for clarification, but also to gain commitment and approval to move the discussion forward.

Manage discussion 
Try this for imaginative right brain debriefing or recapping. The method is also very effective for refocusing or shifting:  Divide the group in teams of three to six, depending on the overall size of the group;  Each team chooses its tools (glue, scissors, markers etc.), and begins to create a collage to answer a specific question you pose (What have you learned from this session? Where do you want to go from here? What are the problems we are facing?);  Have lots of colorful, precut shapes and figures available. Magazines can be a good resource for prepared materials;  Each group then presents its masterpiece. Creative groups may use the presentation time to sing, act or otherwise bring in fresh energy; An additional dynamic can be added by telling the group that they are to present the findings as if they were reporters who must come up with a front page headline's; This illustrates collective wisdom bringing out intuitive information which might not have been accessed cranially. It teaches the power of diversity in team work while stimulating the participants. And it can be fun as well.  

Manage discussion

Priorities;  Priorities:  Simple ranking techniques;  Solutions:  Brainstorm;  Concept mapping. Solutions.

Manage discussion 

Seek to understand first;  Commonality ± sensory modalities: 
Interest;  Speech, tone of voice, words;  Body movement;  Breathing. 

Mirror, match«  Pace.

Anatom of the facilitation process

Agenda (50/50);  Preparation: 
Logistics;  Knowledge and understanding. 

³Gestalt´  Silences;  Nerves;  Language;  Process suggestions from the group;  What is the group saying to you;  Self awareness;  Control, time etc;  Problem people;  Conflict

Workshop design 

The process;  The people. 

Allow issues to be raised;  Allow discussion of

issues;  Allow decision making;  Allow next steps;  Allow closure

Facilitator preparation 

What knowledge do I have ?;  What is my mindset in preparing ?;  What reference materials are to be     

consulted? (Local and National) Are there previous workshop agendas/outputs or research findings? What literature/documents should I research ?; What videos and other resource materials etc might be consulted; What materials are already available within the organization ?; Which local 'experts' might be usefully consulted?.

Preparation of delegates 
What do the    

delegates/trainees know Has a needs analysis already been done ?; Can you visit some delegates/trainees in their workplace to get a better feel for their mindsets and needs ?; What about their customers/clients ? Is research required ?; Is there a need to workshop and agree the agenda up front.

Choosing delegates 

Willingness;  Equal number of participant groupings;  Ideally 15 to 20;  Project sponsor;  Clients and/or potential clients or suppliers ;  Potential customers;  Known adversaries of the subject;  Officials controlling service delivery and budgets;  Employees/members.  Stakeholders:  Control Power Influence

Venue selection 
The facilitation will take place in a building.

Some buildings are more appropriate than others. Here is a checklist of things to think about: Heating: does it exist and who is responsible for turning it on? Lighting: is this adequate and are there blackout facilities if you need to show a film? Electricit : where are the sockets, will you need an extension cable and adapter? Furniture: are there enough chairs and tables and is it OK to shift them around? Walls: is it OK to stick things on the walls or will you have to bring flip chart stands? Equipment: what equipment is available, is it working, are there spare bulbs, TV aerial? Kitchen: can food be prepared at the venue (are there cups etc) or will they have to be brought in? Toilets: do they exist, are they clean, is there toilet paper, will they be open? Access :is it easy to find or will participants need a map? Car parking? Disabled access?

Venue selection 
Adequate meeting spaces;  Adequate and comfortable       

lodging for non-locals; nonGood meals; Refreshments; Equipment, e.g. tables and chairs; Free time activities and recreation; Avoid interruptions and distractions - retreat setting; Comfortable situation for participants; Accessibility.

Venue selection 
The materials and equipment that you need will depend on the methods that you use. Some will be needed for preparation (e.g. computer, printer and photocopiers) and others during the workshop itself. No list of these things would ever be complete but here are some ideas for starters - you can brainstorm and categorize your own checklist! Equipment and Materials:  Blackboard/ Whiteboard;  Flip chart stand;  Overhead projector;  Film/ Slide projector;  TV/ Video and remotes  Cassette/ CD players  Sound system and Microphones;  Video camera;  Chalk (white/colored);  Felt pens (water/ spirit);  Flip charts. Transport Access roads; Sleepover.  


Venue selection (continued) 

Sellotape/ masking tape Drawing Pins PostPost-it pads Pens/pencils Rulers/ geometry sets Calculators Scissors Stapler/ staples Writing paper Folders/ files Overhead Transparencies Slides/ videos/ cassettes Storage boxes Attendance register Expense claim forms

Concluding comments

Drop Learning. Embrace FORGETTING. FORGETTING. Tom Peters

´The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.µ Dee Hock

Concluding comments

´If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself, you won·t get noticed, and that increasingly means you won·t get paid much either.µ Michael Goldhaber, Wired

Concluding comments

´We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place more value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual - the language of emotion - will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how we work with others. Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will need to understand that their products are less important than their stories.µ Rolf Jensen, Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies

Concluding comments

´There is no use trying,µ said Alice. ´One can·t believe impossible things.µ ´I daresay you haven·t had much practice,µ said the Queen. ´When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I·ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.µ Lewis Carroll

Concluding comments

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. Michelangelo

Concluding comments

RIP Joe J. Jones Stop bitching about 1942 ² 2004 HE WOULDA DONE SOME politics«master it ! REALLY COOL STUFF BUT « Tom Peters HIS BOSS WOULDN·T LET HIM!

Concluding comments

Source: Ibis

Concluding comments



Pieter Bouwer, for many of the practical ideas for ice breakers and also quotes; Dr Fritz Hölscher, for the diagram related to the so called Dialogical Intervention Process; Bortoft, Henri. The Wholeness of Nature (New York: Lindisfarne Press, 1996) Davids, Julian. The Nature of Genius (Audio cassette available from Jung Library, Cape Town) Edwards, Betty. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1982) Monk, Ray. Ludwig Wittgenstein - The Duty of Genius (London: Vintage Books, 1991) Ornstein, Robert E. The Psychology of Consciousness (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977) Peter, Tom. Annual Conference of the American Society for Training and Development (Orlando: 2001)

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful