On getting out of the way

January 28, 2009

So much of the art of facilitation is simply getting out of the way. The more I get out of my client’s way, the more they generate the content they really want heard. I’m sure there’s a mathematical formula or a two by two of some kind to quantify the relationship between the facilitator’s activity and the creativity of the group. I’m learning this more and more every time I work with a client group. I’m also realising that the real role of the facilitator is about minding three things
The big picture and the overall reason for the gathering. I have this in my mind as the day goes on. My role is to make sure we achieve the task we have set ourselves.
There’s a finite amount of time available to us and within that there are choices about how that time is managed and used. My role is make sure the time boundaries are adhered to and the use of the time is consciously acknowledged. If a group decides to use the time in a different way then they need to take responsibility for that in the moment.
Making sure we have a safe conceptual space and a good enough physical space in which to work (and ensuring both are respected) is a key part of my role.
Essentially I’m minding the boundaries of the conversation and getting out of the way so that my clients can have the conversations they want to. It’s amazing what happens when you simply get lost!