Category Archives: Facilitators Body of Knowledge

Process-Based Facilitation

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ORDER ONLINE NOW

Over the past two years I have worked to bring together and update content that I have developed throughout my career. Well, that book was published in May 2015 and is NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE and through many booksellers. Over the next several posts I will provide a brief description of each part of the book and chapter. Process-Based Facilitation has 17 chapters divided into four parts, as follows:

Part I: Introduction to Facilitation

Chapter 1: Basic Facilitation Skills

Chapter 2: Values of Facilitation

Chapter 3: Principles of Facilitation

Part II: The Approach to Process-Based Facilitation

Chapter 4: Process-Based Facilitation Model

Chapter 5: Event Planning & Agenda Design

Chapter 6: The Group Process

Chapter 7: Session Opening

Chapter 8: Ground Rules

Chapter 9: Planning Group Decisions

Chapter 10: Questioning Techniques

Chapter 11: Closing the Session

Chapter 12: Follow-Up

Chapter 13: Effective Listening Skills

Part III: Advanced Concepts of Facilitation

Chapter 14: Co-Facilitation

Chapter 15: Facilitating Interventions

Chapter 16: Evaluating the Facilitator

Part IV: Facilitators Toolkit and Appendices

Chapter 17: Basic Facilitation Toolkit

You can order directly from the iUniverse bookstore or order it through your local or online bookstores. The book is also available in electronic format as an eBook for half price.
Alternatively, you can order a copy directly from me and I will sign it for you. Just send an email to me at wayne at facilitationcenter.com, include your Name, organization, shipping address, email, and phone number. I will call you to get your credit card info for payment. The price is $64.95 (US) plus S&H.

Facilitation Styles: A Review of Published Theories

As a professional facilitator, I have often been intrigued by the concept of having a defined style. Yet, there is very little in the literature available to help me define and assess my approach to facilitation, thereby defining my style. Many years ago I assisted with the development of a workshop in which we focused on applying team dynamics to facilitation. We aligned and translated five models, including Situational Leadership, Team Dynamics, the Personal Profile System (DiSC), Power Mode and Conflict Mode. The facilitator identified a facilitation approach that translated Situational Leadership styles into styles that would be used by a group facilitator. We called this Situational Facilitation.

Situational Facilitation was designed based on two dimensions, Supportive and Directive Behaviors around Task and the level of familiarity around Relationships. This resulted in four basic styles.

Much later, after applying a significant amount of work on the styles, I discovered that the concept was previously developed, but not to the level of detail I had taken it. So I continued the work. While researching other theories, I uncovered several from a variety of sources. This article is intended to present these other theories. My next article will present the Situational Facilitation Styles.

Styles in Facilitation Literature

As a prelude to developing the Situational Facilitation Styles theory I felt it was important to research the topic and explore what others wrote about the styles of group facilitation. What I found was a lot of articles on “facilitation styles” but the vast majority of it was written for the training facilitator or grade school educator. There is actually very little research or writing on facilitation styles for group facilitators. Out of dozens or books and articles, only six actually contribute to the discussion of facilitation styles for facilitators. The table, below, shares key points of the best of nine theories.

Facilitation Styles in Literature

These books and articles are review in the order of the significance the authors made in their effort to explain their theories. The first four contain the most significant discussion on styles. The remaining four only pay it lip service. Three of the nine only related to the group facilitator in a peripheral way; meaning that the authors referred to facilitators as trainers or counselors instead of group group facilitators.
1. Developing Facilitation Skills; A Handbook for Group Facilitators by Patricia Prendiville © Combat Poverty Agency, New Edition 2008 (Chapter 2; page 14) Styles of Facilitation. Prendiville poses that facilitation style is based on the task/activity, people involved, time available and needs of group members. She poses four styles that are based specifically on the task but does not address any of the other elements that should determine style like the people involved and their needs and time available to work. The styles identified are:

  1. Directive: When the facilitator is providing instruction and information.
  2. Exploratory: When the facilitator is asking questions to explore experience and ideas.
  3. Delegating: When the facilitator is assigning tasks, roles, functions to group members.
  4. Participative: When the facilitator is participating in and guiding group discussion, sharing experiences with the group and encouraging group members to do likewise. This seems to be a rather simplistic, activity-based, approach to facilitation styles. Based on the descriptions, it seems possible for the facilitator to use all four styles in the course of a single meeting or event.

  5. 2. “Facilitation Made Easy: Practical Tips to Improve Meetings & Workshops” Esther Cameron (2nd Edition) 2001 (pages 3 – 6). Cameron opens her book describing the facilitator role and styles. In it she shares what she calls three Bi-Polar scales:

    1. Energy – with a range from Active (high energy) to Reflective (low energy),
    2. Orientation – with a range from Theoretical (academic) to Fact-Based (observed),
    3. Control – with a range from Aggressive (high control) to Passive (low control).
    4. The combination of approaches provides for up to eight styles but Cameron does not break it down that far. Instead she simply describes each scale, what drives that scale, actions associated with the scale and potential pitfalls to that style. This can be a perfectly valid styles approach, however, it fails to share any depth of thought on the styles.

      3. “The Practical Guide to Facilitation: A Self Study Resource” by John D. Farrell and Richard G. Weaver (71 – 89). Ferrell proposed that facilitation style has four continuum each with two point range (73) (Similar to Cameron). The continuum are:

      1. Getting Own Way – with Direct and Indirect as the range,
      2. Responding to People – with Reserved and Outgoing as the range,
      3. Pacing Activity – with Urgent and Steady as the range, and
      4. Dealing with Details – with Unstructured and Precise as the range.

      He devotes considerable thought to describing each continuum and the preferences (73 – 80). Concise descriptions of each preference include examples of how it is expressed, it’s strengths and how the facilitator may respond in times of stress.

      The remainder of Ferrell’s material, related to style, is about uncovering and understanding your style, the style others use, exploring other styles and challenges to applying them yourself. He uses the INSIGHT INVENTORY™ as a key tool for understanding self in preparation for learning to adapt to meet the needs of group. As an alternative he offers 9 pages that can be used with the Insight Inventory, separate from the inventory as a stand-alone assessment to build your knowledge around using and adapting styles.

      4. “The Facilitator’s Handbook” (1989) by John Heron. Chapter 9 (pages 136 – 143) describes one of the most developed approaches of facilitation styles. This approach was expanded to some extent in a later text “The Complete Facilitator’s Handbook” (1999) (chapter 1; page 13, and Chapter 18; pages 335 – 343). However, Heron’s research and writing reflects facilitation from a training and therapeutic counseling perspective. While both have some value to the group facilitator they also have distracting and competing components that the group facilitator should not be engaging in. He states that a facilitator’s style is based on their personal values, principles, purpose, and composition of the group. He goes on to discuss how to develop a style by creating a self-assessment matrix using his three styles.
      Heron is probably the most cited author on facilitation styles by other authors. In a nutshell his styles are based on the level of control and direction around each of the dimensions with respect to how much control a facilitator exercises (doing for, doing with, or other do). The styles are described as:

        1. Hierarchical: The facilitator directs the learning process and does things for the group or the individual. As the facilitator, you decide on what and how things will be managed. You take responsibility for all the major decisions, and for the processes and direction of the learning. So in this style the Facilitator is the leader invested with authority and responsibility for group learning.
        2. Co-operative: The facilitator collaborates with the group or the individual in devising the learning process. As facilitator, you share power/control and guide them towards becoming more self-directing by conferring with them. Together you would negotiate the outcomes, and while you would share your views, these would become one of many to be considered collectively.
        3. Autonomous: You respect the autonomy of the group or the individual, and give them freedom to find their own way, using their own judgment, without any intervention on your part. Learning becomes totally self-directed and unprompted. This does not mean you abdicate responsibility, but it is a subtle approach where space is provided so that the group or the individual can determine their own learning. This is something of a supporting style. The facilitator provides the support the groups needs to accomplish what they want to do.
        4. In addition to these three styles, Heron also discusses six dimensions (Planning, Meaning, Confronting, Feeling, Structuring and Valuing) the differing levels of which reflect the styles. Each style is appropriate to different individuals or group situations. Heron notes that a facilitator is likely to have a preference for one style over the other, but that it is important to recognize that each style is useful for different contexts, and for different groups and individuals. So, it is advisable for a facilitator to become familiar with all three approaches and should make a conscious effort to use the style which is most appropriate for any given situation or group.

          Unfortunately, Heron’s approach to facilitation has been focused around the facilitation applied by a trainer and therapeutic counselors. This focus is at odds with the group concept of facilitation. While there may be several differences, the one that matters most is in Heron’s view that the facilitator owns the responsibility for the “content”.

          Group facilitators bring expertise in process and can even apply an understanding of the “content” in which the client is engaged. However, they should not allow their content knowledge to drive the results. Group facilitators use their content knowledge to question and help clarify thereby expanding the knowledge of the participants allowing participant content to direct the results. If a facilitator is an expert in the content area the client would look to them to provide that expertise as a consultant or Subject Matter Expert using facilitative techniques. In the same way the facilitator that serves as a trainer as a primary function has content knowledge, specific goals, and outcomes that they are responsible to generate.

          5.  “Facilitating Excellence: Styles and Processes of Facilitation” by John van Maurik (article in Leadership & Organization Development Journal; 1994, 15, 8 (Pages 30 – 34)). Van Maurik has developed a model of facilitation style called the ICIS Facilitation Model. The model seems to be reminiscent of Situational Leadership with two dimensions (Level of Intervention and Scale of Input) and four approaches;

          1. Intellectual Command (IC), marked by a high level of facts and data and a low level of intervention. The facilitator guides through clear guidelines, challenging the group and inserting points when needed.
          2. Incentives Approach (IA), marked by a high level of input and a high level of intervention. It is used with groups that lack commitment and energy or there are cynics that disagree with the tasks.
          3. Creative Group Catalyst (CG) marked by a low level of input and a low intervention level on the part of the facilitator. This style is for mature groups that want to do the work themselves and only fall back on the facilitator when needed. The facilitator is the group guide and
          4. Supportive Coach (SC). Marked by a low level of input and a high level of intervention. Used with groups that have the will but lack confidence that they know how to do it.

          Dimensions, Intervention and Input, are the three keys to Van Maurik’s ICIS styles. Intervention refers to the process interactions within the group (with each other) that require facilitation intervention to keep the group effective. Groups need intervention around Input when they are unsure of what to do. The level of input refers to the degree of participant knowledge and input that is required to be effective.

          However, Van Maurik indicates that while it seems to be reminiscent of Situational Leadership because it is situational in nature, there the comparison ends. He indicates that the model has closer ties with Brain Dominance by Ned Herrmann and the Live Orientations approach by Atkins and Katcher.

        6. Co-Facilitation, A Practical Guide to Using Partnerships in Facilitation by Joanna Knight and Warren Scott describe facilitation style as an individuals’ way of working with a group (pages 15 & 16). Like a finger-print each facilitator brings a slightly different style to a group. When working with a co-facilitator they suggest the practice of changing one’s style to provide a differing approach; like if one facilitator’s style is highly active the other can bring a reflective style. Later they discuss how differing styles can be detrimental to group effectiveness when the facilitators styles are at odds. Yet, they fail to effectively discuss styles at any level other than very superficially.

        7. The Skilled Facilitator, New & Revised, by Roger Schwarz only mentions facilitator style briefly at the end of chapter one (page 15) when Schwarz mentions building your own style and voice. For the most part Schwarz only discusses facilitation style through the lens of basic and developmental facilitation.

        8. Dynamic Facilitation by Jim Rough (Society’s Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People) is described as a facilitation style but I believe it is actually a facilitation specialty or an approach that has some element of style related to it. Unfortunately, Mr. Rough does not go into the development of what the styles are nor how he developed his style theory.

        9. “Basic Facilitator Development Course Manual with Teaching Notes” Association for Quality and Participation (AQP), 1996, Tab 4 pgs 4-15, 4-17 through 4-25. In this form of Situational Leadership (SL) an unknown author for AQP describes the four styles through two dimensions related to Task and Relationship. The resulting styles are:

        1. Directing – replaces the Telling dimension of SL. In this style the facilitator is decisive, structured, clear and specific about what is to be done.
        2. Coaching – replaces the Selling dimension of SL. In this style the facilitator is collaborative, and involving. They listen to group members and make suggestions.
        3. Encouraging – replaces the Participating dimension of SL. In this style the facilitator is considerate, patient and understanding. They advise the group, provide feedback and encourages the team to take control.
        4. Supporting – replaces the Delegating dimension of SL. In this style the facilitator is available to the group and responds to requests. They act as a colleague or a consultant.

        The descriptions of each style included the roles, behaviors, what the facilitator does and does not do. It also describes when each style is appropriate and when it is not.Of course there are many other articles and documents discussing facilitation styles in specific situations but the vast majority relate to instructional facilitation of children. While they are related to some degree, as is almost anything that has the word facilitation in it, I can’t help but avoid referencing them because of their specific focus; educating and training children in a learning environment, as opposed to working primarily with adults in a group environment.

        The 9 styles covered by the authors that have written about it are neither right or wrong, complete or all encompassing, theories. Certainly there is something of value in each of them. It is my hope that, in contributing a theory to the mix, it is something memorable, relatable, and capable of differentiating the value of each style based on when it would be most valuable to the groups we facilitate. I also believe that in doing the research to uncover these theories that I am influenced by them and may incorporate some aspect into my own theory.

Basic Facilitation Skills

Before I show you how Process-Based Facilitation works I wanted to share with you excerpts from the chapter on Basic Skills of Facilitation: A Simple Review of 10 Key Facilitation Skill Groups. When I sat down to write my book it was all about the process. To me process is everywhere. Yet, skills are important as well. How we apply those skills is part of the process. But we must first know the skills that we must apply. So I intentionally set aside the process and laid out the things we must know how to do in order to be a facilitator. I grouped them into 9 groups at first but then broke one down into 2 giving us 10 groups of skills. These groups are:

1.    Process: Central to both perspectives are Process skills. All jobs a facilitator is asked to do has something to do with process. To the facilitator, even most basic skills of facilitation has some element of process associated with it. It is therefore imperative for the facilitator understand what processes are and how to apply them. Under this group we are concerned with Group Process, how to select and apply Concepts, Models, and Methods, and learning two Simple Standardized Discussion Methods.

 2.    Planning: This group is about taking the Concepts, Models and Methods, of the last group, and learning how to Plan an Agenda. While we do this we also want to make sure we are Planning a Mix of Activities to get people involved and participating and we want to Plan the Event Logistics to make sure we are totally prepared.

 3.    Managing Workflow: With the agenda planned our skills are turned to getting the group to Focus on the Work. We try to keep the work visible in the workspace and refer back to it as needed. We use Issue Boards to manage off-topic items, document actions and decision.

 4.    Using Ground Rules:Ground rules are a list of guidelines for appropriate behavior in the group setting. They represent an agreement among the group members relative to what is expected of group behaviors. In simple terms they are a code of conduct for the meeting. Ground Rules are a set of guidelines agreed to by the group that identifies patterns of expected behavior successful groups avoid. The Ground Rules chapter has 12 techniques for developing, reinforcing and reviewing ground rules.

 5.    Participation: One of the hallmark Facilitation Values, #4 in the Values of Facilitation chapter, is about how facilitators invite and engage a broad level of participation of the individuals attending the event. There are many barriers to full participation. Facilitators have to work to overcome social codes, community and group cultures, to engage and gather the full picture during a discussion or problem solving initiative.

 6.    Promote Effective Group Communications: As the facilitator of a group one of our primary task is to serve the group by helping them improve their communications. Active Listening provides a key set of strategies to do this. Also we work in the open and visually so that more of the group will “get” the message.

 7.    Intervene When Needed: From time to time the facilitator, working with a group, might need to step in between group members or the activity, to intervene, in order to redirect the path of the conversation toward a more effective and useful result. This is one of the areas of facilitation that most facilitators fret about on a regular basis. However, with a preplanned intervention approach to help you work through the issue there only exists the need to identify what type of issue you need to deal with. The Intervention module shares three Intervention Models. In every case though, dealing with an issue early helps prevent the issue from turning into real conflict. Strategies to deal with difficult people, managing disagreement, which is a natural and needed state, and understanding why how we get into conflict are discussed.

 8.    Modeling Effective Behavior: I’ve mentioned, probably several times, how facilitators are models for effective group behavior. The way in which a facilitator works the group becomes the model they use. So the facilitator needs to be true and clear about their behaviors, techniques, and methods for effective group skills. Effective Meeting Skills, shared in my short course “The 10 Commandments of Effective Meetings” provides the minimum recommendations for effective group work. I discuss these 10 Commandments in the Basics of Facilitation chapter.

9.    Observing the Group: One of the key skills of a seasoned facilitator is observing the group. Among group members behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and experiences of each member are collectively influenced by other group members. The dynamics of the group are dependent on the dynamics of the individual’s following the group norms/ground rules, contributions to formation, development and performance. As observers we are interested in observing the Group Dynamics, Group Process and Group Functions. To be an effective observer we must practice the skills of a good listener.

 10.  Closing the Session & Follow-Up: Finally, Success of an event is often measured by the way the event is closed. By the time you get near the end of the event time will be a precious commodity. A facilitator must set a minimum amount of time to get through the closing process and lock out any changes in the agenda that will take time away from doing a proper closing. Even if we must cut topics out of the agenda we always protect our time for closing the session. If necessary conduct a Time Check to ensure you have the time to complete your closing. The closing process is a step-by-step process that should be followed.

Follow-up can be the difference that makes you stand out, depending on how you do it. Be prepared, think ahead and be ready to strip the walls and power through the materials to develop the session report. If possible deliver the report by hand to the client where you can provide observations and recommendation, separate of the report. If you cannot do it in person, schedule a phone review. Then don’t forget to do your Professional Paperwork and note your Lessons Learned.

Process-Based Facilitation Model

In the last article I discussed the origins of Process-Based Facilitation (sometimes called the Facilitation Process Model) and how Charles and I developed this model. In this article I want to introduce you to the entire model, to complete the picture, and show how it relates to the Agenda Activity Cycle or the A2C.

Before we get into discussing the Facilitation Process Model I wanted to review the concept of Patterns of Group Collaboration.

Patterns of Group Collaboration and its associated concept of the “Five Patterns of Thinking” was drawn from the work of Dr. Gert-Jan de Vreede, Professor at the College of Information Science & Technology, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Jan de Vreede is a computer scientist working on systems to help groups be successful and explored what groups do when they come together. In his article titled the “Seven Patterns of Group Collaboration”, he writes, rightly, I believe, that facilitators create structures of work that help groups be effective. In a way similar to that of Sam Kaner, Jan de Vreede identified seven patterns of things groups do together, usually led by facilitators. His aim was to create a method of doing these, automatically, without the aid of a facilitator, through applets he called “ThinkLets”. Because two patterns were similar to two others eventually the seven patterns were reduced to just five. His hope was that the ThinkLet could contain enough information to negate the need for a trained facilitator, as if all the facilitator did was design and lead a process.

I believe that Dr. Jan de Vreede was about half right. Half the work of a facilitator is designing and building the structures used by groups in their work. However, 25% of the work is knowing how and when to use those structures and the another 25% is knowing how and when to deviate to address the people issues.

Thinklets document the structures much the same way that our tool and technique worksheets document how we deploy them using our facilitation model in the design of a facilitated event. However, while ThinkLets can be documented with ink and paper, and they can be used to program an online activity they don’t have the capacity to observe the nature of interactions and adjust activities as needed, and a session leader, who is not a trained facilitator, might have difficulty doing this as well.

The model for Process-Based Facilitation

The model for Process-Based Facilitation

The nature of the Process-Based Facilitation model makes several things the facilitator does explicit, clear or well understood. Yet, while we work with groups openly, we are doing things behind the activity that we don’t always make clear to members for other reasons. This explicit and implicit nature of our work shows that the Facilitator has two parallel focuses when working with a group. One is openly based on helping the group to efficientlywork through the activity and another that is watching for, acting and intervening, as required, to keep the group effective. I believe that the ThinkLets only address the efficiency element of the facilitators contribution to a group.

Within the structure of the generic group process we use specific models, concepts or frameworks to provide a specific structure for that work. The Process-Based Facilitation model was intentionally designed to align with the group process. The model is an 8 step approach that is unlike any other facilitation model. I can describe the model as having five parts: Process Structures, Opening Steps, Agenda Activity Cycle, Process Interventions, and Closing Steps. I’m going to briefly describe each of the parts and steps. More detailed descriptions are found in the course material and my book.

Process Structures:

One of the main differences between our model and all other facilitation models is that ours considers is the fact that process structures are an important part of facilitation. No other model I’ve found in my 22 years as a facilitator and facilitation researcher even considers these structures. I identify these structures in two parts; A Models and Concepts, and B Tools and Techniques.

A – Models and Concepts: Most facilitators don’t just talk and question their group. They are actually asked to do something specific; help with solving a problem, develop a strategic plan, develop an action plan, etc. These are Structural Concepts, general ways of doing things. Models are, often, more specific ways of doing the same things. Also included under this grouping are Frameworks which are incomplete, or partial, Models or Concepts. Models and Concepts are tied to the Step 1-Planning. It is at the very beginning of an engagement that the facilitator starts exploring which model, concept or framework to use for a specific client.

Process Structures: B – Tools and Techniques: This is the second part of Process Structures. Tools are specific structures with physical characteristics that are used when facilitating groups. Tools includes things like whiteboards, flip charts, sticky walls, computer and projector, smart boards, paper, markers, etc…

Techniques are specific ways of doing things. In other words they are the processes by which we organize the work and use tools to accomplish specific outputs or outcomes. When examined techniques can be classified as one or more of the five patterns of group collaboration. Tools and Techniques are shown to have an input from Models and Concepts that informs the type of group activity that will be done at different stages. Together the tools and techniques are integrated into a design that translates the intent of the Model or Concept into specific agenda items. The output is a sequenced plan to the start and carry out the facilitated event.

Opening Steps: These structures include the steps associated with planning and kicking off the meeting. Planning can take several days and even months. It can also include several meetings with the client to plan the agenda and associated activities. The Planning step ends with the end of the administrative portion during the planned event.

Step 1 – Planning: This step begins with the initial call or contact with the client. It often includes several meetings that uncover the purpose, outputs and outcomes desired and may include interviews of participants or other key individuals. This is the Design Phase of the project. The output, for the facilitator, is a detailed project plan, including an agenda and facilitation activities design document using the Facilitator’s Worksheets. Specific worksheets associated with the Planning Step are five pages long although the project plan can end up being significantly longer.

Step 2 – Getting Started: This is the kick-off of the planned meeting or event. It usually covers the same issues almost every time. Getting Started includes setting up the room, welcoming the group, Administrative matters, reviewing the agenda and discussing several other issues. Although in some short meetings some of these issues or structures are not covered.

Up until now all of our efforts have been focused on the design of the agenda and dealing with the logistics of getting ready. On the morning of a scheduled facilitation it’s time to put your planning to work.

Agenda Activity Cycle (A2C): The A2C is a multi-level four-part structure through which we deliver different techniques of the group process. Structurally it is limitless in the number and size of agenda activities. The activity can be 1 step or 12 steps. It all fits within the A2C. Each portion of the A2C relates to, or is part of, an agenda item. The A2C includes the following four steps:

Step 3 – Focus the Group: This is a transitional portion of all activities. It eases our way from one activity to another by connecting them to their relevance to each other and the bigger picture. In addition to the transitional Checkpoint it also provides the purpose and instructions for the next activity we will be engaging in as well as the opening question.

Step 4-Gather Data: Step 4 Gather Data is reflective of Step 3 of the Group Process model. This is the step where we uncover what we know or seek to expand our collective knowledge. This is the divergence process undertaken when any activity is started or during early parts of an event. In general, and in this specific context, all the information gathered, be it data, opinions, numbers, or ideas, are treated as data until the group processes it into meaningful information in the following steps. In later cycles of the A2C data may have already been collected and in this step it becomes the collective review before final processing begins.

Step 5-Process Information: Processing information is the act of making sense of what it tells the group in the current context.This is the step where we start to make sense of all the data we’ve collected. The information is ‘processed’ through any number of methods to converge on a decision. Processing means grouping, understanding, reducing, and combining, to narrow the field and create the best decisions for the group’s situation.

Step 6-Decide: It is often surprising to groups but a decision is not always needed, or advisable, once the information has been processed. Yet, the Decision Step is relevant because it often is needed. When a decision is not required of the group the facilitator should use this opportunity to process the groups reactions to what they learned or simply acceptance of their work.

early in Step 2 we determine what kind of decision is to be made and what process we will use. We may have options developed to choose from for this decision-making. There is a range of decision making modes from command decisions to formal consensus. It is during Step 6 that we implement and document the results of the decision making process we selected.

Process Interventions: Having ways to deal with the interruptions to the smooth flow of the activities undertaken in the A2C are what we call Process Interventions. These are interventions that must be inserted in-the-moment, or situations that require the facilitator to intercede to bring the group through a crisis of need. This crisis is often caused by three things or some derivative thereof:

C: Changed Situation: There are times when the information you gathered was either misinterpreted by you, provided mistakenly by the client, or was intentionally misdirecting (uncovered deception or a hidden agenda). Whatever the case, in the moment, you are facing a situation that doesn’t add up with what you are hearing or seeing with the group. If not dealt with early it could lead to significant conflict.

D: Conflict: Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of life and groups. It is often good (competition, learning) but it can also be bad and destructive to a group. Facilitators need to be able to use the good conflict while capturing and disarming the bad conflict as early as possible. This kind of intervention slows the group forcing them to open their eyes and ears to truly listen to one another. It uncovers the root cause of the conflict and engages the group to overcome it or, at least, minimize it.

E: Training: There are many times that a group is asked to do something that they do not know how to do. So they require some level of training. Training of often scheduled because it is not assumed that participants know everything. Scheduled training is not a process intervention. This training is the kind that is required on the spot, in order to keep the event moving forward.

Closing Steps: There are two steps in closing an event. First is Closing the Session and second is Follow-up and Reporting.

Step 7: Session Closing:

the process for closing a facilitated event.

The process for closing a facilitated event.

Closing the session is one of the most important activities a facilitator engages in with a group. Closing the session is a specific process that includes a brief review of the entire meeting, highlighting what the group did from start to finish, confirming completed items, and addressing how to deal with open items or issues with the group.

Being one of the most important things we do with the group we must make sure we have the time to properly close the session. This means that we have to watch the clock during the last few agenda items to make sure that our work time does not encroach on the time set aside for Closing. If it appears that it may, then we need to do a time check with the group. During the Closing the facilitator conducts a brief review of the work. He guides the group through a review of their expectations and parking boards. They also review with the group the assigned actions from the event. At the conclusion of the Closing the group evaluates some aspects of the event for the purposes of learning and improving on future events. Finally, if there are expected follow-on events topics or agenda items are scheduled for the next meeting.

Step 8: Follow-Up: Conduct a wrap-up meeting with the client as soon as possible after the event for immediate feedback and confirmation of output expectations. Also schedule a follow-up meeting with the client to deliver your report. If required, complete the documentation and reports and be prepared to brief the client and provide recommendations on next steps. Ask the client for feedback. Then complete you facilitator documentation of the event.