Blog > Rethinking facilitation training

December 30, 2010

This 10-minute video is about school education and has some great points to make about letting go of past educational paradigms and rethinking how education is delivered. Watch it, and then come back and read the rest of this post about facilitation training. If you can’t see the video, here’s a link.

If you can google facilitation processes and get millions of result,  watch videos of facilitators in action, read facilitation blogs, articles and even books on-line, why the expense (in time and money) of coming together for training? It’s no longer necessary to come together to get the information you need to facilitate. This is influencing my current thinking about Facilitating With Confidence (the training arm of what I do). As much as I love providing facilitation training, I think it’s a good idea to reflect on how to best use the time when people are together.

Here’s what I think facilitation training needs to offer:

A ‘field’ in which to practice, fail, learn and develop
Less content, more doing. Valuable time in a training shouldn’t be used presenting information. Get straight into doing facilitation and learn along the way. The content will emerge. This means letting go of a traditional learning schedule of pre-determined topics.

The ‘field’ relates to the training group (participants + trainers + client + venue + community even). This provides a wealth of opportunities to allow real-world learning, failure and development.

An opportunity to experience being a facilitator and being facilitated
It’s easy to forget what it’s like being a participant. It’s easy for participants to not be aware of how difficult it can sometimes be being a facilitator. Shifting between doing and being done to helps build empathy – a key attribute for facilitators.

To move beyond what is on the internet by playfully trying out stuff
Playfully trying out stuff is the key here. Trying, failing, trying something else. Knowing what it feels like. Discovering that your body can tell you you’re about to make the wrong move before your brain has had time to process the inputs and tell you the same thing. Learning to know in different ways. Doing this together, playfully. Having fun while learning serious stuff.

To develop relationships with others who can support, encourage and challenge you
Bringing people together face-to-face and having a shared experience fast-forwards connection. It doesn’t guarantee it. And it’s not the only way. It does provide some strong and weak links that may be very handy when any of us get stuck and want some serious help or simply a friendly ear.

What else would you add? What do you think are the benefits of face-to-face trainings?

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