Facilitation is about helping groups reach optimal outcomes in the time they have available. This can be a challenge when there are conflicting priorities and competing deadlines. My approach to facilitation is about tapping into the collective wisdom of the group. Each context is unique, and some individuals will have more to offer than others depending on the issue. However, we all bring something valuable to situations based on our experience and own way of thinking.
Helping the group to communicate with a heightened quality of attention increases the chance of creating a way forward that draws on the resources within the group. When done well, participating in facilitated sessions can be an uplifting experience; leaving participants with a positive feeling about the contribution they can make.
Benefits of facilitation include:
· Establishing a shared vision for the team or organization.
· Shifting from a re-active to a pro-active approach.
· Gaining a better understanding the issue(s), and greater clarity about the resources and opportunities to address them.
· High levels of trust/ mutual understanding.
· Avoiding the ‘mundane’ or ‘stagnant’ work environment – by providing opportunities for professional and personal development through the generation of new knowledge.
· Deepening relationship within the team through learning together.
Designing the right communication solution will depend on the number of participants and the desired outcome. Facilitation processes can range from 1 or 2 hours (for example in the case of a team meeting), to 1 or 2 days (in the case of a planning retreat) – and even extend over the course of a number of months or more (in the case of change management or community development/ ‘developing communities’). Whether you are organising a strategic planning retreat, trying to solve a particular problem, or simply interested in energising your team meetings, facilitation can assist you to achieve the desired outcome.