Five Take-Aways from The Skilled Facilitator




The Skilled Facilitator books and course notes are ones I turn to time and time again after attending this immersive, challenging and enlightening course ten years ago. So much of what I learned is now ingrained in how I think and work, and yet I get another insight every time I go back to it. I continually reflect on and refine my work with teams with this challenge in mind:

“The challenge is to enter the system-complete with its functional and dysfunctional dynamics-and help the group become more effective without becoming influenced by the system to act ineffectively yourself.”

My Top Five Skilled Facilitator Take-Aways:

  1. Curiosity over judgement

  2. Test assumptions and inferences

  3. Seek to learn and move forward together, rather than to ‘win’ a conversation. ‘But’ becomes ‘and’.

  4. Ground rules matter.

  5. Listen rather than wait to speak. 

This could easily have been a top 15! I already want to add ‘ask genuine questions’ - the ‘you idiot’ test has stayed with me!

I feel another post coming on!

And if you’re wondering what the ‘you idiot’ test is - it’s a great way of checking whether you are asking a genuine question or whether your language and/or tone is actually revealing a judgement in the form of a question.

It always draws wry smiles and useful self reflection when we discuss this in coaching or facilitation.

Ask your question in your head. If the words ‘You idiot’ sit pretty comfortably at the end of the question, that’s a sign that this isn’t a genuine question, and that you have an opportunity to either ask something you really want to know, or make the statement you want to make. Either way, there will be an opportunity to reflect on ensuring that the impact you want to have and the impact you actually have are better aligned.

If you want to read more or consider attending a course I can highly recommend The Skilled Facilitator Workshop.

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