Definition of Facilitation
Facilitation according to Cambridge Dictionary is the process of making something possible or easier.
In the business context Facilitation is the act of helping other people to deal with a process or reach an agreement or solution without getting directly involved in the process, discussion, etc.
- helping to clarify the group’s goal and objectives
- designing a group process for achieving those goals and objectives
- leading a group through the process to create an end product
Purpose of Facilitation
The purpose of facilitation is around:
- giving information and/or receiving feedback e.g evaluating success of a project
- solving a problem
- taking a decision
- planning and prioritising
Facilitation is NOT about the content but the PROCESS i.e. the way we get there.
Role and Skills of the Facilitator
- Be self-aware
- Remain neutral
- Questioning and drawing out
- Offer ideas and suggestions
- Listening skills
- Hear, see and sense
- Manage conflict or unwanted behaviours
- Help the group achieve its goals and objectives
- Draw and challenge to maximise team input
- Build the team
- Be neutral and unbiased
- Control to ensure equal participation
- Pre-meeting preparation
- Manage post-meeting actions
- Determine when to let discussions expand and when to narrow down
Questions can aid the facilitation by keeping the dialogue on track. As a facilitator you can use questions to:
- Guide the discussion towards the meeting objectives
- Keep the discussion moving so that one two group members don’t take over
- Get commitments for actions from individual members
- Check progress at any point of the meeting
- Make sure everyone gets the opportunity to participate
- Help make the transition from one phase to another
- Who would like to start?
- What do the rest of you think?
- Who else has an idea on this?
- Who has a different view?
- What haven’t we thought of?
- What else is involved?
- How else might we do this?
- What else should we consider?
- What’s missing?
- What else?
- Who can summarise this?
- What have we got here?
- Of the causes we’ve identified, what are the major ones?
- What are the priorities here?
- Which suggestions are the most practical/doable?
- What should/can we eliminate?
- What should we do next?
- What decision process should we use?
- Of the steps we’ve discussed, what’s the first one?