Facilitation isn’t a new kid on the block - yet its power and importance has arguably only been recognised fully over the last few years. That often means, describing what facilitation actually is, is almost an art of its own. 🤯 You should feel for your Facilitator pals out there, struggling to explain what they do - at a party, to clients, family or folk on linked in (no John, we’re not in Facility Management 👩🔧).
With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a couple of quotes & definitions giving insight into what we do as facilitators.
International Association of Facilitators
A global membership network formed in 1994. They have positioned themselves as governance for professional standards and accreditation, as well as a connecting place for practitioners.
They define the role of Facilitators as: "...enabling powerful change. Every meeting or process that is facilitated has an impact on the individuals and the groups of which they are a part. Good facilitation can change the way people think and act, and ultimately support them to positively change the world around them."
The following qualities are the core competencies they believe all professional facilitators must foster, and indeed these are the ones they assess against. You can dive deeper into each of these competencies here.
1. Create Collaborative Client Relationships
2. Plan Appropriate Group Processes
3. Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment
4. Guide Group to Appropriate and Useful Outcomes
5. Build and Maintain Professional Knowledge
6. Model Positive Professional Attitude
Liberating Structures believe in a decentralised concept of the facilitator in favour of a more ‘jazz’ like approach, where Facilitators can emerge from the group as and when needed.
”We call it The Art of Hosting, because it is an art to become skillful at helping ourselves and others work well together, especially in these times of increasing complexity. We talk about hosting, because what is offered here is not a typical facilitation or moderated session. It gives attention and care to all aspects of people’s work together, intending to host them in being successful, just as any person welcoming guests will make sure they have everything they need to make their visit fruitful.” (The Art of Hosting)
“The working definition of facilitation that we like, will focus, explore and represent how we facilitate and utilize team based learning at the Kaospilot is supported by Tom Justice and David Jamieson (…) what needs to be done; who needs to be involved; design, flow, and sequence of tasks; communications patterns, effectiveness, and completeness; appropriate levels of participation and the use of resources; group energy, momentum, and capability; the physical and psychological environment.” (Kaospilot)
*Tip: having a hard time describing facilitation and what you do? Try to use a quote or a metaphor to spark the imagination of your clients or participants.