How often have you been asked, What is Facilitation? This is an important question to be able to answer in a simple fashion. This is especially true when you’re being asked by a prospective client. And since just about everyone could use help with their groups and work teams, nearly everyone is a prospect!
I’ve collected a good deal of responses from a number of people answering the question, “What do facilitators do?” I hope you find these helpful.
Succinctly Describe the Essence and Value of Facilitation
I help diverse groups of people make difficult decisions without killing each other.
–John Miller, Principal, Senior Consultant & ToP Trainer with ICA Associates Inc., Canada–
I help people have the conversations they need to have.
–Stuart Reid, London-Based Facilitator–
I help demystify the cloudyness and uneasiness of managing people.
–John Ingram, Owner, Hiside Group and Professional Training & Coaching Consultant–
I listen–a lot–then I ask the right questions. Then I listen some more. I repeat this as often as it is required. I help organizations and individuals become more effective in what they do and what they want.
–Alastair Fraser of Coaching Training Consultancy Ltd–
I clarify your outcomes and manage the process so that you can achieve or make progress towards your outcome. I get rewarded only if you do.
–Nick Hindley, Training and Development Manager at PPD–
Through planned and spontaneous interventions, I make the work of the group easier.
–Jill Malleck, OD Consultant & Integral Coach–
I help teams and other groups to create and maintain the spaces and processes they need to learn and grow.
–Gilbert Brenson-Lazan, Founding Partner, Amauta International–
I ensure that all views are considered, everybody gets to talk, and I quiet the ones who talk a lot. In the end we have the best possible solution of many for the problem.
–Tom Vardon, Senior Specialist, Process Control and Safety Systems at Giffels Associates Limited/IBI Group–
I help people change & grow their businesses through focused conversation and targeted action.
–Jennifer Livingston Huber, Chief Catalyst at Shift LLC–
I create safe environments for people to create their own best solutions.
–Adam Saslow, Vice President, Sustainability Programs at Plexus Logistics, International–
I help groups tackle difficult, emotionally charged issues, find common ground, and commit to shared action–and in the process strengthen the fabric of community.
–Larry Dressler, Facilitator, Change Agent, Author–
I help large groups of people get a lot done in a short period of time.
–Michael Kaufman, Co-founder of InnovationLabs, one of the world’s leading innovation consultants and collaborative design facilitators–
I help groups move from point A to point B in an effective, efficient, and healthy way.
–Gary Rosenfeld, Change Facilitator–
I help leaders to clarify, develop, and implement their plans.
–Richard Derwent Cooke, Change Mentor & Expert Facilitator–
I help people to trust each other and themselves.
–Steve Barnaby, President of Century Communications Group–
I provide the appropriate environment for groups to have meaningful, respectful and efficient discussions needed to provoke the results that the group is seeking , whether that is to solve a problem, develop a strategy, plan for action, or to better understand an issue.
–Paul Mackey, MBA CPF, Senior Facilitator with Strategenis Change Facilitation–
I help to streamline and accelerate the decision making process by guiding business owners and senior advisors through a structured process, manage their egos, and get them to “real/honest” consensus around specific issues with realistic next steps.
–Hollis Chase, Chase & Associates, Expert Facilitation & Business Development Services–
Facilitation is to conflict resolution as health promotion is to medical care. We are about preventing conflict and solving problems together. Have you ever been in a painful meeting that didn’t get anything done? I help people work together to get to the results they need quickly and easily.
–Jo Nelson, CPF, CTF, ICA Associates, Inc., Toronto–
Have you ever sat through an interminable meeting that felt like a colossal waste of everyone’s time? I can help you plan and facilitate meetings that don’t suck, but actually accomplish something useful. Have you ever watched interpersonal conflicts prevent people from getting the work done? I can mediate conflicts and facilitate conversations on controversial subjects so that everyone is heard and no one gets hurt. Have you ever put off holding a difficult conversation with an employee, vendor, or colleague who isn’t performing up to expectations? I can coach you and teach you skills to communicate more effectively.
–Eris Weaver, Facilitator & Group Process Consultant, San Francisco Bay Area–
I act as a thermostat, by setting the environment for healthy group participation and progress, while monitoring the environment on a ongoing basis, like a thermometer. If things get too heated, I take the lead in cooling things down, so that healthy group participation and progress can continue.
–Reggie Barlow, Co-founder, Family & Community Restoration Outreach, Inc–
Working with groups and teams in health improvement is a core competency of public health. I help groups build community health improvements and I help public health professionals learn and use the facilitation tools that make them effective consultants to the community for health issues.
–Jane Schadle, Iowa Department of Public Health
How would you describe what you do? If you feel you have an original description, please leave your response in the comments section below. I’ll add it to this list with attribution.