What is it?
Very simply, getting someone external in to support a group of people to achieve something. Unlike training, facilitation is designed to work with the expertise in the room. A good facilitator structures an event to allow participants to contribute, collaborate, gain consensus, make decisions and plan for action.
What are the benefits?
Working with me as an external facilitator enables:
A fresh set of eyes to positively disrupt habitual thinking and foster creative problem solving
Novelty. Participants realise that the event is both different and important
Independence. Being external means I am regarded as a neutral party which supports consensus building
Focus. By reading the room and remaining flexible, I can keep everyone engaged and effective
How does it work?
There are so many ways to facilitate groups. Here are a few that I love:
Appreciative Inquiry: Rather than focussing on problems to be fixed, AI encourages us to focus on what's going well and what we can learn or replicate from pockets of best practice. Whether it's running half day workshops or two day conferences, AI is a great way to build consensus and motivation in teams.
Action Learning: A novel way of enabling discovery in groups. Action Learning works by bringing together a group of people to address specific issues that are 'sponsored' by one of the participants. People in the group initially pitch their challenge to each other and then the group choose one. The chosen person will then quickly introduce their challenge before opening up to questions from the group. All the questions must be open and only the chosen person can give answers. The facilitator helps the group to avoid closed questions or making suggestions.
Action Learning can work with people across disciplines, companies, departments. I qualified as an Action Learning Set Facilitator with Action Learning Associates where you can find out even more about how it works!
Open Space Technology: Sometimes called 'World Cafe' OST is a facilitation method of working with groups of between 5 and 1,000 people. The theme of the conference is typically defined, but the agenda, focus and results will be developed by the participants at the event. This highly participative facilitation method really does pool the wisdom of crowds, allowing individuals and teams to define their terms of engagement and work together to solve problems and come up with new ideas.
Kahoot: I love gadgets and tech. Kahoot is a fun online tool for game based learning. "Kahoots" are multiple choice quizzes that you can join in with on your phone, tablet or computer. It's a fun way to check learning and engage audiences.
Creative Facilitation Tools: There are all sorts of ways to bring creativity and problem solving to collaboration and decision making. Whether building Avatars, using Six Thinking Hats or just integrating team building games into a more structured programme of activity, by keeping the experience fun, I help to keep minds open and the imagination buzzing.