The Electronic Discussion
From the Electronic Discussion on Group Facilitation
FACILITATOR COMPETENCIES FROM EDGES PUBLISHED BY ICA: CANADA
- The Facilitator is effective in using core methods (distinguishes
process from content)
- The Facilitator carefully manages the client relationship and
prepares thoroughly (scoping)
- The Facilitator uses time and space intentionally
- The Facilitator is skillful in evoking participation and creativity
- The Facilitator is practiced in honoring the group and affirming
- The Facilitator is capable of maintaining objectivity
- The Facilitator is skilled in reading the underlying dynamics of
- The Facilitator orchestrates the event drama
- The Facilitator releases blocks to the process
- The Facilitator is adroit in adapting to the changing situation
- The Facilitator assumes responsibility for the group journey
- The Facilitator can produce powerful documentation
- The Facilitator demonstrates professionalism, self-confidence,
- The Facilitator maintains personal integrity
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FACILITATOR
from the Institute of Cultural Affairs
One who is willing to commit to a style of
- "asking" rather than "telling."
- paying personal compliments.
- willing to spend time in building relationships rather than
being always task-oriented.
- initiating conversation rather than waiting for someone else to.
- asking for other's opinions rather than always having to offer
- negotiating rather than dictating decision-making.
- listening without interrupting.
- emoting but able to be restrained when the situation requires it.
- drawing energy from outside themselves rather than from within.
- basing decisions upon intuitions rather than having to have facts.
- has sufficient self-confidence that they can look someone in the
eye when talking to them.
- more persuasive than sequential.
- more enthusiastic than systematic.
- more outgoing than serious.
- more like a coach than a scientist.
- more like a counselor than a sergeant.
- is naturally curious about people, things and life in general.
- can keep the big picture in mind while working on the nitty-gritty.
In the final analysis, anyone can be a facilitator who is willing to be
flexible and not bound by, a slave to, their natural social style.
Top Qualities of Facilitators
From isabel rimanoczy
1.To avoid the temptation of providing all answers to the
2.To stay attentive so as to capture the comments that showe
that participants aren't "walking the talk"
3.To point those moments, with tact and without offending
4.To bring humour in when climate gets tense
5. To resume findings
From Barbara Batson, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Self knowledge (strengths and weaknesses)
knowledge of audience (what they expect)
concern for quality (and being able to describe it)
ability to inspire (create a learning environment)
flexibility, versatility, (ability to switch gears at
the last moment)
Here are five I go by in training our facilitators:
#1 - Organization Skills
#2 - Listening for understanding
#3 - Observing Nonverbal messages
#4 - Questioning (as opposed to telling) skills
#5 - Conceptual and Systemic Thinking (to put it all together)
From Glen Shull <email@example.com>
First 5 off the top of my head, some general, some specific.
1. Knowledge of content that fits desired outcomes.
2. Understanding of and skill with process of learning of their
3. Ability to maximize gaining of knowledge and skill in the
4. Observation and listening for opportunities and actualities
5. Set up learning environment via posing problems, questions,
tools and other means to stir the mind and body to learn.
From Robert (Robin) A. Reid
In terms of the qualities of a top-notch facilitator, my top five
would all be about the individual as a human being, rather than
theory, technique and skills .... all of which can be taught.
Most desired qualities....
1. Self-awareness...knowing how self impacts others
2. Empathy ...the ability to see the situation as the other
3. Acceptance .. acceptace of others, able to hold a fellow
human being with unconditional positive regard
4. Authentic and congruent ... eg walks his/her talk and is
5. Open to self-growth and flexible about her/his learning
and how to do things.
From Frances Deverell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1. Ability to really listen and summarize what you have heard
from a non-judgemental place
2. Ability to use out-going participants to get the discussion
rolling and then shut them down and make room for the quiet ones
3. Ability to sense when a quiet person or an important person
has something to contribute
4. Ability to pace the discussion and change the level of the
discussion at the appropriate time (from brainstorming to evaluation
to decision to action planning) (or from thinking to feeling)
5. Ability to steer the group in a positive direction and to
help it pull out of a problem or salvage whatever degree of
agreement there may be so that the meeting can end on a positive
note with a sense of direction.
From CHANGE_THIS <Ruby_Calvin@csg.mot.com>
On the question of desirable facilitation behaviors here
are my top five.
1) Remaining neutral on issues.
2) Being an active listener.
3) Knowing how to ask questions.
4) Encouraging open communication.
5) Maintaining focus on the issues.
From Michele Whitmore (email@example.com)
Before one can list the tope five qualities of a facilitator,
one would have to know the difference between training and
facilitation. The responses posted to the list are the top
5 qualitities for training.
IMHO, training is a process whereby a trainer (who has subject
matter expertise, adult learning understanding, and presentation
skills) leads a group of trainees in acquiring new skills,
knowledge, or understanding. The methods used may be lecture,
video-based, computer-based, text-based, etc. Usually, there
is some measureable outcome whether it is the performance of some
job skill or the acquisition of some information.
Facilitation is more of an art than a science. I was in the
counselor ed program before switching to adult education. I took
a course in group dynamics in which participation in a personal
growth group was required in order for us to experience and observe
the dynamics of the group and the skillful facilitation of those
dynamics. I have also participated in several large group
awareness trainings in which I observed the art of facilitation.
Where training involves telling and teaching the participants -
facilitation involves helping the participants discover for
themselves. A facilitator must be able to read not only individuals,
but interaction between individuals, and the subtleties of group
dynamics. If the goal is to help a group become a team, the
facilitator's job is to observe, give feedback, and ask questions
that will lead to insight. If the learning that is to take place
involves experiential exercises, the facilitator helps the
participants process their experience, to clarify what they have
gained from the experience and to help them gain additional insight
from how others in the group may have experienced the same exercise.
The facilitator notices what is NOT said as well as what is said and
points it out to the group. The facilitator notices patterns in group
interaction and brings it up to the group for exploration.
Wow! Can't believe I have gone on so long. Training generally
involves the transmission of skills or knowledge. Facilitation
often involves the softer side of human emotion, psychology, and
From Tim Dixon
asks provocative questions
great insight into interpersonal dynamics
The biggest difference between training and facilitating is
the difference in the ratio of learner involvement vs. trainer
involvement. A good facilitator's only job is to get the
participants to come up with questions and answers. As for
the top 5 qualities of a facilitator:
Good questioning skills
Knowing how to stay out of the way or keep their mouth shut
Keeping the discussion on track
Creating constructive conflict
are a few that I can think of...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (CPFarley)
What are the five qualites you would say are absolutely essential in a
-- Objectivity/neutrality (no vested interest in one solution over
-- Understanding and experience in a wide variety of facilitation
techniques (starting with braistorming)
Here's my quick and simple top 3 items:
1. Listening, listening, listening.
2. Caring, caring, caring.
3. And some neat stuff around group dynamics.