A certain amount of theoretical knowledge is important to an effective facilitator. The most basic areas of knowledge required are listed below and described throughout this workbook. Spend some time investigating these competencies and their associated knowledge areas using the workbook and the additional resources listed below and in the References section at the end.
Facilitator Competencies to Demonstrate
- I understand the role of facilitator.
- I can distinguish between content and process.
- I’m fluent in idea generation, grouping, selection, and decision-making processes.
- I’m fluent with the Integral Facilitation (four-quadrant) Model.
- I know and actively monitor signposts of group dysfunction.
- I understand stages of group development and how they impact process design and approach.
- I can engage individuals who are visual, verbal, and kinesthetic.
- I can facilitate groups that over-process (talk excessively or analyze without decision).
Facilitator Knowledge Areas
I understand the role of facilitator. In essence, the role of facilitator is to make it as easy as possible for groups to work together and achieve their highest purpose. Refer to the Introduction for specific definitions of this role.
Distinguish between content and process. Content and process are the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of group work. Facilitators help groups with processes to identify and achieve what group members have gathered to accomplish. Refer to the Facilitating the Process (The Guide) section for more on this.
Idea generation, grouping, selection, and decision-making. Idea generation, grouping, selection, and decision-making are foundational tools used for groups seeking to solve complex problems and make decisions. Refer to the 4-Step Creative Problem-Solving Process Tools Summary under Day 2 of this guide.
Integral Facilitation Model. Integral Facilitation can be applied to any client situation faced. This means that the four quadrants (the Integral lens) can be chosen to reframe any problem or circumstance to provide a more comprehensive perspective. This also invites the facilitator to challenge the initial problem and values of a client group beyond what might be called for by an exclusively neutral or impartial perspective, or by an exclusively “objective,” evidence-based perspective. Refer to the Introduction and Appendix 1 for more detail on this model.
Identify and actively monitor signposts of group dysfunction. To keep groups from getting stuck or dissolving altogether, facilitators must actively watch for signs that the group’s functions are impaired. The sooner facilitators pick up signs of dysfunction, the more readily they can intervene, and help the group right itself. Study and practice the Intervention Speak Table in the Day 2 section for categories of typical dysfunction and ways to appropriately intervene on them.
Stages of group development and their impact on process design and facilitation. Groups pass through multiple stages of development as they move from initial formation to high performance. At each stage, the nature, frequency, and depth of intervention will need to vary. Skilled facilitators discover and understand the group’s stage of development, then choose and tailor processes accordingly. For more on group stages, refer to Group Development through Stages in the Introduction and to Listening Levels in the Friend in Appendix 2.
Engaging visual, auditory, kinesthetic learning styles. The tools people use to best receive, process, and integrate information differ from individual to individual. Some have an easier time receiving and making sense of visual information. Others make more sense from auditory or kinesthetic input. Adapting presentations and processes to address all three ways of knowing, facilitators can ensure that every participant can draw the fullest understanding from their group experience. Here are a couple websites to get you started learning more about learning styles: drcherylkasdorf.com/2013/02/18/what-learning-style; and mindtools.com/pages/article/vak-learning-styles.htm
Redirect groups that over-process. Group over-processing is a special case of dysfunction. For both the facilitator and the group itself, group over-processing creates the illusion of productivity through activity. It is especially deleterious because it is difficult to discern and redirect. Refer to Integral Implications for Facilitators in Appendix 1 for more on this topic.
Integral Facilitator’s Primer & Self-Assessment. Complete this assessment to determine your level of competency for each of these archetypes, then consider the questions that follow to help you craft a development plan to enhance your skills.
This model is taught in an applied format during our Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop, a five-day experiential event offered regularly at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and sometimes at other locations throughout the country based on interest and by invitation.