Facilitation is a task that requires leading a group session in a smooth and organized way. Often, in a seminar or convention, the person who leads the event is called a facilitator. But this role is also carried out in other aspects. One example would be a member who is in-charge of presiding the meeting is doing the task of a facilitator.
In a court setting, the judge acts as the facilitator of the session. Members of human resource department also take the role of facilitators in certain company activities. In the field of education, there are training and classroom facilitators. In the business aspect, we have business facilitators who are tasked to help a group arrive at a decision or an answer.
What Does to Facilitate Mean?
To facilitate means to make a process flow and go through easily and smoothly. So a facilitator is someone who sees to it that a group or organization is able to work effectively and collaboratively by helping to manage and support the group decision. In doing this, the facilitator must promote group participation, mutual understanding, and shared responsibility among the members. This individual plays a key role in carrying out the group’s objectives on a neutral stance.
In a session or group event, the facilitator should know what preparations need to be done, how to manage the event, and set up the whole event together. This includes preparation at the start of the activity, during the process until the wrapping up part. But this should not be a very difficult task because it is collaborative. Your main role is to guide and make it easy for the group to complete the process.
What Characterizes a Good Facilitator?
Good facilitation differentiates successful and failed group facilitation. An individual who is appointed to do facilitation should display the basic attributes of a good facilitator to help bring success in achieving the group’s objectives.
A good facilitator is task-oriented, meaning the main focus should be to carry out the main responsibilities until the conclusion of the activity. Facilitation requires persuasiveness, enthusiasm, and active listening. A facilitator knows how to build relationships and draws energy from the team rather from within.
When it comes to bringing up a good discussion, a facilitator initiates a conversation instead of waiting for someone from the group to start talking. Moreover, opinions are better solicited from the group rather than from personal viewpoints. A good facilitator knows how to make a compromise and negotiate instead of enforcing a decision.
In facilitating, being able to see the bigger picture in mind while keeping fundamental details characterizes a good facilitator, too. Also, this person should have a good level of self-confidence to perform the role with professionalism.
The Tasks of a Facilitator
One of the main roles of a facilitator is to act as a leader in the group. As a leader, facilitating team building is needed to promote a productive and more solid team. Moreover, the facilitator encourages group members to participate and interact and directs the group to a cohesive decision. The leader also stimulates a constructive and healthy debate among the team members.
Apart from leadership, the facilitator should also act as a “referee” in the team. As a referee, order and regulation should be implemented during discussion. This also includes being able to control difficult and problem group members to carry on with a smooth interaction, avoiding from heated arguments and misunderstanding. Timekeeping to ensure that the activity is started and completed upon the set timetable is also an important task of a facilitator as a referee.
Lastly, the facilitator should be neutral especially in team discussions. This means taking a pragmatic view of the different opinions coming from the members and staying objective to appear unbiased to everyone’s points. Soliciting feedback is a good way to promote a healthy discussion in the group.
Though the role of a facilitator may seem complicated and challenging, it is ideally the other way around. The bulk of the responsibility of a facilitator is just to maintain ease of discussion and process in a group event without encountering a lot of difficulties or obstacles, thus, being able to meet the group’s objectives.