facilitation

January 26, 2010

Top Ten Benefits of Facilitation

By using facilitation as a tactic, you can ensure that you free up your people in all sorts of ways when they work together – after all, it’s there to make the process work.

But what exactly are the benefits?

Facilitation is a simple skill whereby the process to an end result is supported – especially in meetings – to ensure that the participants are able to contribute fully, without worrying unduly about the activity. They do the content, thinking and debate, the facilitator enables it to happen.

So, what exactly are the benefits of using facilitation in the workplace?

Here are ten of them…

1. Freeing
Because a great facilitator focuses specifically on the process, everyone else can get on with the purpose and outcomes and concentrate fully.

2. Structure
Meetings follow a precise route, engaging those present and reducing concerns. In the future, the process creates a ‘safe space’ for members to meet and contribute.

3. Clarity
The facilitated meeting clarifies roles and enables the leader to be fully ‘present’ – thus reducing their focus on the clock and their own, often internal, agenda.

4. Neutral
When using an internal or external facilitator, they bring a process-focused neutrality to the proceedings and have no role in the issue.

5. Value-Creating
Facilitated meetings create value. The synergies released once the process is clear, enable a freedom of thinking that provides for much better solutions.

6. Experiential
If used as a learning exercise, as well as a real activity, Facilitation is learnable. Like anything new, those present can be a little resistant, but still, with post-meeting review, lessons learned make subsequent occasions progress quickly.

7. Timely
Meetings which are facilitated are timely. With the focus created by a skilled facilitator, there is no wasted time, so building confidence, trust and team spirit.

8. Contributory
More individuals on the team are able to say their piece, because the rules are agreed upfront. Any minor transgressions are reflected upon quickly in the facilitated process. So everyone’s input is valued and inappropriate behaviors are controlled.

9. Progressive
Because the process is fair and ‘managed’, there is an understood commitment to outcomes and actions. Accountabilities are very clear, written down and agreed.

10. Clarifies Roles

Pre-meeting discussion between the facilitator and key players clarifies the roles of those involved in the activity. Thus a lead will have a clear understanding that his or her role is broader than driving his or her own solutions. Hence team skills are improved and the leader begins to appreciate the true value of the bigger team ethic.

When meetings are facilitated, progress happens. Facilitation in other situations can work too, so it can be used as a valuable tool to generate successful outputs, when people get together to work effectively and efficiently towards a common goal.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Managing Me by Martin

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