Facilitating towards resilience


December 8th, 2008

I’ve been pondering the worth of facilitation. It doesn’t always produce immediate, or even visible, results – and sometimes, no results at all. It’s hard to describe what facilitators do – especially when the best facilitators try to do as little as possible, and get out of the way. So why have a facilitator at all?

Changing habits…

Bringing in a facilitator from outside the organisation or from another part of the organisation sends signals to the group. It doesn’t matter really what signals each individual in the group receives. It’s the difference that’s important because it sets the scene for the group to act differently.

…and habitats (hat tip to Sir Ken Robinson)

Facilitators also change the group’s habitat – the space in which they operate – demonstrating a different way of being with each other.

Even for groups that are made up of smaller groups, the facilitator can set the scene for some unique interactions.

And I now believe the purpose of facilitating is to build resilience. To provide opportunities for people to experience different ways of being together, conversing, negotiating, deciding, acting and living. These are skills and experiences we all need, especially in times of stress and difficulty.

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