The 7 Levels To Being An Amazing Facilitator
Good afternoon leaders!
In our previous post, we discussed the 4 stages of a group and how it’s important to have an outside facilitator to navigate through those stages. Today I wanted to share with you all why it’s important for a facilitator to be multi-dimensional. In most groups, members are innovative, creative, inventive, and visionary at a level deeper below their conscious awareness. In fact, most of what occurs within a group happens subconsciously and it’s the facilitator’s job to help raise awareness of those deeper thought levels and to bring them to light for the other members to see.
Being a multi-dimensional facilitator extends beyond just being a good listener and directing discussion. In The Art of Facilitation, authors Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, and Bill Taylor outline several levels of being that a facilitator must attend to in order to be effective.
Those Facilitation Skills levels are:
1. Physical Level of Facilitation Skills
For a facilitator to be very successful, they must address needs outside of what the client put on paper. This includes ensuring the physical comfort needs of the group are met and that any tools or props required are on hand. Addressing the physical level extends to making sure the temperature is comfortable, that there’s fresh air, comfortable seating, enough lighting, food and drink, and restroom facilities. It’s also important to plan and accommodate for any special needs a participant may have (interpreters, accommodations for those disabled, etc.)
2. Thinking Level of Facilitation Skills
The thinking level is the most critical level as it’s when members are most productive. It’s incredibly important that at this level the facilitator encourages all members to participate, and to focus on moving the discussion forward and to embrace each other’s ideas and opinions. At the thinking level, members express themselves best by using words like: “I think…I’ve noticed…I understand…We must consider…My vision is…” and etc.
3. Emotional Level of Facilitation Skills
The emotional level is where team members share their experiences and feelings. As a facilitator, encourage members to be emotional and to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions from the heart. The emotional level is where members truly express how they feel, so as a facilitator it’s important to be compassionate, empathetic, and to ensure there are no interruptions or putting down by other members. At the emotional level, members often use words such as: “I feel…I care…I’m concerned…” and etc.
4. Intuitive Level of Facilitation Skills
The intuitive level is all about macro experiences. As a facilitator it’s important at this level to help members see and understand the big picture. This is done by encouraging members to consider the ideas and opinions of the group as a whole, and to encourage members to speak what they feel is unsayable. It’s also very important for the facilitator to not allow group bias to occur, and to not avoid those who are upset yet silent. At the intuitive level, members use words like: “I sense that…something is wrong here…We are onto something…I’ve got it…” and etc.
5. Energy Level of Facilitation Skills
The energy level is all about body language and shifting direction. At times the group may need to be energized with a louder voice, hand motions, and greater audio/visual experiences. On the other hand, the group may need to be slowed down and centralized to retain focus. As a facilitator, it’s important to encourage participation and to monitor energy levels so you can direct the energy of the group as needed.
6. Spiritual or Ritual Level of Facilitation Skills
The spiritual/ritual level is where the group taps into their creativity and higher consciousness. Music, meditation, dance, art, atmosphere, and rituals tap into the group’s spiritual energies such as peace, joy, and love. As a facilitator, members should be encouraged to be self-expressive and to partake in diverse cultural practices that deepen the group’s experience. It’s important to utilize rituals and instructional designs that inspire all group members and to not utilize meaningless or boring rituals that are uninspired and disengaging.
7. Synergistic Level of Facilitation Skills
The synergistic level is where the group becomes one. Members are aligned, connected, attentive, and integrated. It is clear to members what the big picture is, and the group taps into each other’s wisdom to make well informed decisions. At this level, members complete their most creative and powerful work while encouraging further group alignment, purpose, and appreciation. Members move past disbelieving their self and others, and negativity, cynicism, and close-mindedness are avoided.
Knowing the above, it’s important for a facilitator to identify when groups are at a certain level so he or she can help direct the flow and produce results. By understanding and knowing how to facilitate at each level in a way that resonates with members and brings out the best of them, then both parties can succeed exponentially.
NATURAL COMMUNICATION STYLE.
Each person has a natural communication style.
Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.