Facilitation

by Steve Roche

Rating your skills

It takes many skills to facilitate a group successfully. The real art is knowing how and when to use them. Assess your skills and rate them alongside the statements below (this page is also available as a PDF file and as a MS Word file):

Key:

1 – Rarely    2 – Sometimes    3 – Often    4 – Always

‘How often do I...’

SCORE
1.
Move the group consistently towards the agreed outcomes?
2.
Bring to light unstated views, undercurrents and conflicts?
3.
Ensure insights are shared between group members?
4.
Provide feedback to the group and individuals?
5.
Involve the group in deciding how to move forward?
6.
Help the group draw parallels and reach conclusions?
7.
Keep the room and the time safe from intrusion and interruption?
8.
Remain neutral and objective?
9.
Bring attention to key points?
10.
Challenge and confront individuals when appropriate?
11.
Promote collective decision-making processes?
12.
Welcome challenges from the group?
13.
Ensure that key decisions are noted?
14.
Manage and maintain high energy in the group?
15.
Check to ensure understanding?
16.
Adapt and respond flexibly to the needs of the group?
17.
Involve the group in setting the agenda?
18.
Note non-essential issues for discussion outside the session?
19.
Focus my attention on the group process rather than the content of discussions?
20.
Confront and deal effectively with disruptive behaviour?
21.
Provide a structure for the issue to be discussed and resolved?
22.
Ask effective questions to generate reflection and learning?
23.
Acknowledge points of view and introduce new perspectives?
24.
Demonstrate trust in the group through behaviour?
25.
Bring the focus from the general to the specific and vice versa?
26.
Help individuals learn from what happens in the group?
27.
Check for agreement and lack of agreement?
28.
Acknowledge strengths of individuals and the group?
29.
Help keep the group on track?
30.
Listen for and surface feelings, emotions and hidden agendas?
31.
Tune into and respond to non-verbal clues?
32.
Communicate openly and authentically?
33.
Redirect the focus when it is time to move on?
34.
Encourage discussion in pairs and small groups to deepen learning?
35.
Make sure the physical space and layout are conducive to learning?
36.
Respect confidentiality?
37.
Summarise key ideas?
38.
Notice and highlight patterns of group or individual behaviour?
39.
Maximise interaction between group members?
40.
Show willingness to be ‘wrong’?
41.
Manage the time to ensure an outcome is reached that satisfies the group?
42.
Ask questions that others think but no one else asks?
43.
Encourage contribution from every individual?
44.
Hold back on personal views unless asked?
45.
Encourage the group to celebrate accomplishments?
46.
Encourage the group to assess their learning and processes?
47.
Elicit opinions from every group member?
48.
Remain calm?

Facilitator skills scoring

Transfer your scores to the appropriate boxes in the grid below and then total the individual columns. The highest score for any section can be 48, the lowest 12. Read the descriptions below to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses.

1
        
2
        
3
        
4
        
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
Total: Total: Total: Total:
 
A
 
B
 
C
 
D

Key:

A – Driver    B – Challenger    C – Harmoniser    D – Communicator

How did you do?

The diagram below gives an overview of the key roles that an effective facilitator will take at any given time. The more you can fulfil all four of these roles, the more likely you are to achieve positive results.

Ask youself

  • Where do you excel? Where do you need to develop?
  • Do you place emphasis on one role at the expense of others?
  • What strategies, tools and techniques do you use or need to fulfil these roles?

From Facilitation Skills by Davis, Smitham and Storey, published by Teamwork as part of the Journeys series of booklets, 1998.