Monday, December 9, 2013

The Expert Facilitator

Had the pleasure of watching and working with an expert facilitator in action. Most of us think that facilitation is about standing and talking. That is not facilitation - that is just reading news. Or sharing information.

Facilitation is about engaging with people, teasing out viewpoints, hidden thoughts, the bullies, the soft voices, the games, the tactics and all not with a sense of superiority or grandstanding, but as an equal participant. Even as the room is going in a single direction, the facilitator can sense the need for changing direction. Even as the room is smug in its understanding, the facilitator can drop a bomb exposing the ignorance. Even as the room grapples with itself, the facilitator kindly assures them that grappling is fine. The facilitator is never on the pulpit or on the victory podium. He is there, but not there. In the shadows usually, helping the room. Sometimes, on the mat - sometimes putting someone on the mat - not for her personal triumph, but in getting the participant realize themselves. 

It is the verbal equivalent of a martial arts match - ever alert, prowling along, watching, knowing, understanding - and in the end, there is only one winner - the participants!

Such joy!

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