Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

SharonGuest Blog by Sharon Honner

Am I the right person for the job? This question is always at front of mind when accepting a facilitation role.

It can be a little more complicated when asked to facilitate a group you are part of as a volunteer. The complication or conflict occurs because a facilitator should be clearly differentiated from a participant.

When being asked to facilitate as a volunteer I ask myself the following questions:

  • What is more beneficial – for me to facilitate or participate?
    • It is really important to spend the time to assess the impact of being removed from the group as a facilitator.
  • Do I have the right facilitation skills to be an asset to the process?
    • There are many facilitation methods and processes, do I have what is required to meet the groups outcomes in a timely and professional manner.
  • If I do facilitate, can I leave my personal agenda’s at the door?
    • When I am part of a group, I am there because I am passionate and have points of view I may wish to share.

It is not only being able to leave my personal agenda’s at the doors, there may be other concerns within the group to make it difficult to facilitate, for example:

  • Is there an air of distrust or bias exists within the group? When this exists individuals will be more concerned with having their point of view heard rather than understanding others
  • Do some members of the group feel intimidated and as a consequence will not participate?
  • Are there any personal rivalries?
  • Do set decision making processes are in pl, when a group has been together for a while they may already have processes that work well for them
  • What are the time restraints on the outcome
  • Some of the group believe coming together is often a waste of time as the meetings are unproductive

Filling the role with the right person will make decision making and problem solving go smoothly. If any of the above sound familiar, it is often preferable to use a facilitator who is not a group member.

Happy facilitating

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Comments on: "The challenges of facilitating as a volunteer!" (1)

  1. Thought provoking blog Sharon. One of the challenges in a volunteer is finding funding for an external facilitator. Therefore compromise is often needed. I’m keen to hear your thoughts on how best to manage this challenge!

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