Rethinking Facilitation

Nov 13 G100It was a recent talent development workshop co-facilitated by me.   In short, in a few occasions I thought that we were about to hit the brick wall.   But it did not turn out to be the case.   In fact, there were a few participants whom I had anticipated to be upset with our arrangement.   Yet, they turned out to be among those who appreciated the workshop the most (according to our 1-on-1 conversations)

It forces me to challenge some of my assumptions on my facilitation work.   My current assumptions are:

•    Facilitators (to be specific the learning facilitators) should ALWAYS support AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE the participants to the extent that the latter are pleased.
•    Facilitators (again for learning) should NEVER trick the participants to failure, even for the good intention of experiential learning

I have thought very hard on point 2.  I think I will still hold point 2 though it seems that the learners did not really mind.  In the language of ‘Immunity to Change’, point 1 is probably a BIG ASSUMPTION. And I would like to assume differently now:

•    Facilitators should ALWAYS support the participants.  The purpose however is to achieve the contracted learning objective but NOT to please them.   In fact, in order to achieve the objectives, the participants may get upset during the process.

The question for myself – What else can I do to shift my BIG ASSUMPTION?

3 Replies to “Rethinking Facilitation”

  1. David, I can agree with you more on the purpose of facilitation not being to please the learners. In recent cases my challenge question “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE HERE” works the process towards the right direction. victor

  2. I am still struggling on the assuption 2. The learning circumstance should be safe. However, if particpants cannot awared that there may be wrong in the past time. They cannot accept or rethink what should be right.

  3. Nana, thanks for your comment. Combining your point, I think it is about how to make people aware of different ways of doing things without tricking them for failure in a learning environment. I think it can be done.

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