“Too much facilitation – not enough training” This was a comment made by a participant in one of my training programs recently. Which got me thinking – how do we reconcile the need that some folks have for a ‘recipe’ – just tell me what to do and I’ll do it – as opposed to ‘understanding’ – discover for yourself what works and why? I’ve proven time and again that the former just doesn’t work – especially when the application is with people ie facilitating. Too many variables for any recipe to work. So here’s what I think are the key things I try and transfer when facilitating learning about facilitating:
1. Know yourself What are you capable of/ not comfortable with? What are your strengths?
2. Be prepared Have enough knowledge, tools, processes, and frameworks to be able to respond to whatever emerges. This means taking responsibility for your own continuous learning: reading (blogs/books/magazines/journals); attending conferences or networks meetings; contributing to discussions; being involved. Practically, try and have with you the basic tools and resources you might need.
3. Be alert and curious Observe what’s happening in a group – don’t jump to conclusions but when some behaviour (by the group or individuals) is holding the group back, name it and respond appropriately. When things are going well, don’t interfere.
4. Look after yourself Drink lots of water, rest and meditate as necessary. Make time for yourself, or with others, depending on your own needs. Exercise.
5. Be kind To yourself, and others. We’re all human. We all have good and bad days.
6. Keep perspective Keep the bigger picture in mind – remember what’s really important.
7. Take risks Try something new – not just because it’s new, but because it’s appropriate. Be open to opportunities to try something new or different.
8. Be patient If you can’t change the world today, there’s always tomorrow!
9. Ask for help Don’t try and do it all alone – ask others for help. Ask the group to help.
10. Enjoy! Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Even serious topics and difficult groups can be enjoyable.