Being provocative


July 19th, 2010

When Andrew Rixon and I were working together recently we were talking about clients who say they want something different in facilitation, but all of their subsequent behaviour (and anxieties) point to something else altogether.

Andrew shared with me this tool he uses to engage clients in a more meaningful conversation about what they are really willing to commit to. When I first saw it, it didn’t look this pretty and was missing a third question. Together we nutted out the final question about failure. Andrew calls this provocative facilitation, and I call it disruptive facilitation. Whatever you call it, it’s about shaking things up rather than making things easy.

I think this is a great way to open up the conversation. I also think the three questions are nested, with the easiest one first. By the time you get to talking about trying something quite different where outcomes may be nothing like those expected and that failure is a real possibility, you have reached quite a different client/facilitator relationship than one where you suggest you can predict and control the outcomes – which IMHO is nonsense.

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