What Do You Mean By Facilitation?
This article will help you build your skill as a facilitator, a team manager or a group worker.
We want you to feel confident when it comes to planning and facilitating a meeting, event or workshop. We'll help you access any roadblocks you encounter – even if you put them there.
So what does 'facilitation' mean to you?
Let's have a look at this one. In my experience, facilitation is partly the process of getting answers. Answers which will help people learn, make change, make decisions and set goals. To be a good facilitator, you should aim to be good at asking questions and NOT providing answers.
Facilitators also encourage communication to build understanding and enable people to learn from each other.
There are several definitions for a facilitator including:
• “An individual who enables groups and organizations to work more effectively; to collaborate and achieve synergy. for fair, open, and inclusive procedures to accomplish the group's work. ” – Doyle
The phrase, 'content neutral', appears often, but how do you practice this if you are working in an organization, as a team leader or have reasonable professional knowledge about the topic? At those times, you may be called on to play the role of a facilitating leader.
Let's unpack that a bit by looking at another view:
• A facilitator is a third party – a facilitating leader is someone who is part of the group.
• A facilitator remains substantively neutral – a facilitating leader becomes deeply involved in the substance of the group's work.
• A facilitator is a process expert but not an information resource or content expert – a facilitating leader is an expert in both process and content.
• A facilitator has no decision-making authority – a facilitating leader does.
The differences mean that the facilitator and the facilitative leader use the same core values and principles, but apply them in different ways, consistent with their roles.
Another way to deal with this dual demand is to facilitate a group process in a neutral way, allowing the group to move toward its decision.
When specific information is required by the group, and you, the facilitator, hold that information you could signal that you are stepping out of the facilitator's role and into the content information role. After delivering the information, announce that you are stepping back into the facilitator's role.