What are Facilitation Skills and Why Are They Important?
The definition of facilitate is "to make easy" or "ease a process."
What a facilitator does is: plan, guide and manage a group event, to ensure that the group objectives are met effectively…. with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone who is involved.
A skilled facilitator is like the sails of a ship. They guide the team on-board where they need to go, with no objective other than to lead the team to their destination. A team can navigate
a meeting without sails, but it is much easier and more effective if they have facilitation skills to guide them.
A good facilitator possess the following skills:
- Advanced preparation
- Clear communication
- Active listening
- Asking questions
- Establishing a psychologically safe environment for sharing
- Creating focus amongst the group
- Unbiased objectivity
- Managing the group decision process
Here are 4 benefits of facilitation:
1. Creating Champions of the Process
The more time, grounding, and learning that individuals have in the process, the more committed they come, to the tools and application. It’s worth stating again: the best way to learn something is to teach it. When you have someone who becomes a certified facilitator, they become a champion and driver of the process….
2. Internal Ongoing Support
When challenges or issues arise in your culture or process of establishing greater accountability at every level, which they always do…., the Facilitator program means you
have internal support you can turn to right away. This team has been grounded in the process, they know the tools, the questions to ask and are prepared to help support the ongoing implementation of the training initiative.
3. Cost Effectiveness
Training initiatives can be costly to organizations, especially when you need to fly out trainers to train your people. Facilitator programs are a very cost effective option in the sense that you invest to get your people trained as certified facilitators, who, in turn, can then rollout the training internally to more employees.
4. Leadership Development
Countless organizations select their high potential leaders to go through this process, because it teaches them invaluable skills, such as: how to best facilitate a meeting, how to improve their communication and presentation skills, and provides them the opportunity to help others grow. This investment builds self-confidence in the individuals you train and adds something invaluable to your workforce.
To quote John C Maxwell: “Leadership deals with people and their dynamics, which are continually changing. The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.”