Thirty years ago, I found myself in a job that gave me a stage. Immediately, I fell in love with the power of positive influence. The stage made me come alive, centred me, and gave me purpose. The desire to grow and strengthen myself in speaking publicly excited me. And then, twenty years ago, I found myself in a job that exposed me to facilitation.

After I discovered this, my passion expanded. It changed the course of my life, my profession, and my journey. Facilitation provided me with a wonderful new tool of influence, and the desire to master this beautiful art form began. 

I wanted to unearth the secret to creating spaces that connect and engage, creating environments of adventure and intrigue. If you create this space, a magical dance starts to take place where people discover, grow, and contribute. This type of facilitation takes me to the most wonderful places that I know.

What is Facilitation, and what does a facilitator do? 

A facilitator is accurately described by the Association for Talent Development as a “ ‘guide on the side who asks questions, moderates discussions, introduces activities, and helps participants learn.

Facilitation can be powerfully used in many situations: to foster connection, achieve a goal, trigger learning, activate potential, and embrace change to name a few.

A good facilitator is like a composer – directing conversation and setting a bass note, but always allowing people to speak and share their ‘song’, unedited. This real, raw, vulnerable place is where the magic and learning lies.

Facilitation – the right type of facilitation – is about focused expression from both the group and the individual within the group.

Some will say more, some will say less, some will reveal more feelings, and some will reveal less, and that’s ok. The important part is that we talk about that which matters. This is why organisational change and culture creation should always facilitate in a way that reaches the heart. Adopting new norms happens from the inside out, where people connect with the urgency and necessity for what needs to be done.


The power of Facilitation

When I was young, there was a coke advert that had a line something like, ‘I wish that I could buy everybody in the world a coke.’ As I look at the world I think to myself, how I wish that everybody in the world could experience the magic of facilitation. Especially on topics like gratitude, or contribution, or slowing down, or LOVE.

I know these topics might sound soft to you.  But seriously – it’s time we replace these incorrect attachments with the right feelings and thinking. In the magical circle of facilitation, people are honoured and their feelings are engaged. This is what makes it so powerful, as no true change or growth occurs when feelings are ignored. 

Feelings are arguably the most important aspect of our being. Most of our endeavours in life revolve around ‘feeling good’ and this requires that we feel ‘heard.’ We make all our decisions based on our feelings. 

The secret to an effective facilitation

The prized environment of this beautiful art form is psychological safety. Here, people don’t fear rejection, embarrassment or punishment for ideas shared or commentary made. Over the years, I have experienced surreal moments where safety produces the most innovative breakthrough and ideas. 

I believe innovation and fresh thinking (a core value of ours), ultimately follows surrender. We must let go of attachments and dominance, yielding to the power and resourcefulness of ‘us’. Collaboration requires such safety, and the art form of facilitation is to make beautiful spaces like this possible. Sometimes it happens quickly. And sometimes, there are some roadblocks to move through. 

So whatever the challenge, whatever the possibility, don’t get caught up on the transaction alone. Find the transformative magic within facilitation.

Ready to experience the art of facilitation for yourself?

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