Powerful Facilitation Principles

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Powerful Facilitation Principles

For more than 20 years, I have strove to create learning environments in all of my knowledge and skill-building activities. I also work with hundreds of teachers and other learning leaders every year to encourage them to do the same.

Powerful facilitation matters to young people and adults!

Each time I have shared my programs and facilitated activities, I keep the following principles at the core. I commit to upholding these principles too, and I’m glad to share them here publicly. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Adam’s Facilitation Principles

  • Be a Facilitator- Not a Teacher, Speaker, or Preacher. There’s a difference between a teacher, a speaker, a preacher, and a facilitator. A facilitator leads the gathering or group towards learning; guides the gathering towards its goals; and leads by example, not force.
  • Be Humble. You do not know everything and you do not need to know everything. Be a learning facilitator who goes with an open heart and an open mind to learn with participants, not just to show others how to do it.
  • Create Guidelines and Goals. Overcome cynicism and inability by having learners create ground rules or guidelines before you begin. Brainstorm potential rules and write them down – but avoid too many rules. Every group should have some specific guidelines that all learners agree on.
  • Think about Framing & Sequencing. Facilitators introduce the purpose, or frame, to the group they’re guiding. An important consideration is the order in which you present learning, which is also called sequencing.
  • Reflect, Reflect, Reflect. One way make learning matter is to reflect before, during, and after activities. You can see reflection as a circle: You start with an explanation what you are going to learn and frame its purpose and goals with learners.
  • Create Safe Space. It is vital to create, foster, and support safe spaces where learners can engage together. Establishing a safe space is powerful, positive, and hopeful, and hope is a requirement for excellent facilitation.
  • Seek Consensus. Whenever learners are discussing a possible solution or coming to a decision on any matter, consensus is a tool excellent facilitators turn to.
  • Embrace the Journey. Learning is a process, not an outcome. Encourage learners to view the group process as a journey with no ending, just stops along the way. However, even experience cannot teach us what we do not seek to learn. John Dewey once wrote that we should seek… “Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining is the aim of living.” This is true of excellent facilitation.
  • Embrace Challenges. Since excellent facilitation is a process, it is important to understand that there will be difficult times ahead. One of the keys to excellent facilitation is knowing that criticism will come – and that can be good.

If you’re interested in booking a training on excellent facilitation for your school, nonprofit, community, or agency, contact me now!

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