Today’s article from Helene Jewell, a professional facilitator from Bristol,
illustrates beautifully the energy and movement of facilitation.
‘For some the idea of standing up in front of an eager (or maybe not so eager) group of people may be utterly horrifying. For others, it’s not such a big deal, it’s just one of those things you might have to do as a part of your job. And for people like me, there’s an element of living slightly on the edge that means we absolutely love it! We come in all shapes and sizes, and are not necessarily extroverts or performers, of attention seekers. I think it’s more simple than that, we like problem solving in the moment, in the here and now, throwing ourselves in a bit at the deep end.
I don’t love doing talks, and I don’t love being put on the spot to “perform” in front of a group. I don’t even love taking part sometimes. But what I do love is creating a process that gets a group of people all in the same room working together to create, discuss, review, reflect or plan something. I get excited creating the plan, digging deep into my creative brain to see what tools and techniques I can use to make the process the best it can be.
But what gives me a real buzz is thinking on my feet on the day. Facilitation is like that, more so than training in that you are inviting people to be a part of the process you have designed. The substance of the information circulating in the room comes from the participants, not you. But by involving the group, by making it theirs you are inviting the possibility for things to go not quite as you planned. You can allow time for a discussion to come to fruition, but you never really know how long it will take. You can never be certain what issues may arise or what conflicts need to be addressed before you can move on. You can never know what kinds of ideas may emerge and how much conversation they will elicit. People may take a very long time to reach agreements or make decisions and you might need to pull something out of your back pocket to move this along. You also have to deal with the ever- present monster of time.
Flexibility and ability to think on your feet is crucial for a facilitator, for me it keeps me focused and makes me dig deep. I always learn new things and I am never, ever bored.
Do you enjoy thinking on your feet, with the possibility of sudden twists and turns, or do you like it when things go exactly according to plan?‘
She approaches facilitation with creativity, enthusiasm and energy combined with a healthy dose of process, structure and robust communication. She facilitates workshops, team away days and events. To find out more visit www.jewellfacilitation.com