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Facilitation. Faculty and Professional Learning Community Howard Community College 2009-2010 Professional Development Fall 2009 Laura Yoo and Linda Wiley. What is facilitation?.

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Faculty and Professional

Learning Community

Howard Community College


Professional Development Fall 2009

Laura Yoo and Linda Wiley

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What is facilitation?

  • To facilitate means "to make easy." The group facilitator's job is to make it easier for the group to do its work. By providing non-directive leadership, the facilitator helps the group arrive at the understandings and decisions that are its task. In a consensus group the facilitator's focus is on the group and its work. The role is one of assistance and guidance, not of control.

  • Michel Avery, Brian Auvine, Barbara Streibel, Lonnie WeissBuilding United Judgment: A Handbook for Consensus Decision MakingThe Center for Conflict Resolution, 1981, page 51.

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What is facilitation?

  • Facilitation is … the art of leading people through processes toward agreed-upon objectives in a manner that encourages participation, ownership and creativity from all involved.

  • David SibbetPrinciples of Facilitation:The Purpose and Potential of Leading Group ProcessGrove Consultants International, 2002, page IV.

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What is facilitation?

  • “The facilitator's job is to support everyone to do their best thinking.  To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding and cultivates shared responsibility.  By supporting everyone to do their best thinking, a facilitator enables group members to search for inclusive solutions and build sustainable agreements.”

  • Sam Kaner with Lenny Lind, Catherine Toldi, Sarah Fisk and Duane BergerFacilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-MakingNew Society Publishers, 1996, page 32.

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Power of Facilitation

  • From Directive Leadership to Facilitative Leadership

From Facilitating with Ease! by Ingrid Bens

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The Beauty of Co-Facilitation

  • Continuity of leadership

  • Interplay of different skills each brings

  • Share the joys as well as the responsibilities

  • Keep each other on track

  • Debrief after meetings – immediate feedback and evaluation

  • And when you commune with all the other FPLC facilitators, you form yet another community!

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The Impact of Facilitative Leadership

  • Increase sense of responsibility among members

  • Members will draw on their own resources

  • Increase in participation

  • Be engaged in the goals of the group

  • Increase in cooperation

  • “the hallmark of a good leader is that all of the group’s members become leaders themselves” (Bens 30)

From Facilitating with Ease! by Ingrid Bens

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Qualities of Successful Facilitators

  • Which of these are my strengths? Which do I need to work on or have my co-facilitator complement?

    • Flexibility

    • Tolerance for ambiguity

    • Mindfulness

    • Creativity in thinking

    • Enthusiasm about learning

    • Respect for human diversity

    • An abiding interest in the FPLC topic

    • Openness to innovation and new ideas

From Torosyan and Ortquist-Ahrens

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Suggested activities for successful facilitation

  • Change the room arrangement

  • Tools like flip chart and markers to encourage sharing

  • Invite members to identify their personal learning goals and share with the group

  • “Learning partner”

  • Field research, interviews, gathering data (something other than just reading – how about a conference?)

  • Ask members to identify questions for the group

  • Structure reflection activities

  • Ask members to evaluate the group’s process time to time

From Facilitating with Ease! by Ingrid Bens