1 of 11: Suggested Facilitation Strategies: Me, My Behavioural Preferences & My Facilitation Practice
There is no one perfect Facilitator profile. Whilst the International Association of Facilitators (www.iaf-world.org) describes 6 Competencies of a Facilitator that we must all master, when it comes to our profiles we can be extrovert or introvert; we can be thinkers or feelers; we can be debaters or peace-keepers; and so on. What is key is that we know who we are, and that we have strategies in place to ensure that who we are affects our facilitation practice… for the good.
In our “Facilitation by Design” training programme – run within organizations convening many stakeholder conversations - we expressly address how who we are affects our facilitation practice. With reference to the diversity of diagnostic tools and assessments that participants have engaged with prior to the training, we consider behavioural preferences and explore what this might mean for our work as facilitators.
Take, for example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that suggests psychological preferences in how we perceive the world and make decisions; the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation instrument (FIRO-B) measuring interpersonal needs and preferences with regards our interactions with others; and the StrengthsFinder personal assessment tool that identifies individuals’ top talent themes. Reflecting on behavioural preferences - as illuminated by these tools and many others besides - we ask: “How are our preferences manifesting in our facilitation practice?” “How are they affecting how each of us works with groups in a facilitation role?”
Building on these reflections, each participant then identifies three “Learning edges” or areas on which they would like to focus particular attention in order to strengthen their facilitation practice. Possible strategies for doing so are suggested.
In a series of 10 blog posts to follow, we will share insights into recurrent learning edges for facilitators and, for each, some suggested strategies for strengthening facilitation practice.
Recurrent Learning Edges For Facilitators
1. Building (a) my stature and confidence as facilitator; and (b) building the confidence of others in me as a neutral, authentic and legitimate facilitator.
2. Designing a thorough and detailed agenda that is (a) structured, logical and outcome-driven; and at the same time (b) flexible, allowing for flow and emergence.
3. Choosing methodologies that (a) are appropriate and motivating for the group; and (b) interesting for me.
4. Feeling comfortable with (a) a group I know (too) well; and (b) creating rapport with a group I don’t (or barely) know (without making it too much about ‘me’).
5. Having confidence in achieving the desired outcomes (a) when I’m not a subject matter expert; and (b) when I am a subject matter expert (but my role is as facilitator).
6. Striking the right level of visibility and intervention: (a) Saying enough; and (b) Not saying too much.
7. Knowing (a) when I should summarize and synthesize discussion for the group; and (b) when I should have the group summarize and synthesize.
8. Keeping track of (a) group maintenance when I’mgetting swept up in the task and content of discussions; and of (b) the taskand content of discussions when I’m getting swept up in the group dynamics.
9. Making sure my desire (a) for harmony doesn'tskew the process when debate may be beneficial / necessary; and (b) my desirefor debate doesn’t hinder agreement and moving forward.
10. Ensuring (a) I valuablyand dependably guide the process and the group; and that (b) I handover to the group, fostering ownership and self-reliance.
Next > 2 of 11: Suggested Facilitation Strategies - Building Confidence in Yourself, and Others in You, as the Facilitator