Facilitating the facilitation of a facilitation

The nice thing about training and coaching is that I learn every time. This week, one of my favorite Czech clients asked for a 1-day program about faciliation.

What I learned this week

1) Being a facilitator is a nice thing – “one that facilitatesespecially : one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision” says the online Merriam Webster dictionary. I especially like the unobtrusive, also a lovely word. Too lovely to be in the Webster dictionary (as Frank Sinatra sings?)

2) Facilitation is not as easy as it looks – preparing the training made me realize that. Managing process, deepening the dialogue, resolving difficult situations …

3) Russian dolls and metalevels – the idea of the training by doing was a Russian doll concept. One person (let’s call him Frank)  facilitates a meeting of 3 people about how to facilitate, another person (let’s call her Ella)  meta-facilitates the learning process John and his group, Eva walks around and meta-facilitates the meta-facilitation. And we swap roles several times. All this meta-stuff turned out to be slightly confusing for some (yes, I will make it clearer next time..). However, while doing this, I realized that the ability to switch between a “normal” and a “meta” position is absolutely key to any effective facilitation. It is also key to mindfulness and meditation practice, as my friend Bjorn Prins reminded me of.

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