Facilitation skills are a provision of opportunities and resources that support a group to succeed in achieving its desired goals. The word ‘facilitate’ comes from a Latin which means ‘to make easy’. It is the art of focusing the collective group energy on a specific goal. It is a diverse field which relies on facilitators who have a broad collection of facilitation skills and approaches.
A facilitator is a person whose role is to guide people through the process to a successful result. This process could be a meeting, training and development session, team building or any situation involving a group of people where the desired goals or targets have to be met. A facilitator contributes structure and processes to interactions so groups are able to function efficiently and make high quality decisions.
Facilitation skills are essential to successful Team and group work. That means it is also critical to the company’s success, especially given the presence of conflict in today’s time. While conflict may at first seem destructive and not very comfortable, it can be very creative. But conflict needs effective management so that it remains part of a creative rather than destructive process. This is where effective facilitation skills are extremely helpful to keep the team on track, keep the relationships intact to successfully achieve business outcomes.
Everyone in the company benefits from good Facilitation skills. Those that benefit the most from them are more likely to be team leaders and supervisors. Facilitation skills enable a team to arrive at satisfactory outcomes with different agendas and varied chosen outcomes.
7 Steps to achieve effective facilitation skills:-
Facilitation helps everyone to feel that they worked together to achieve the best possible outcome of the task. Clearly facilitation has an important role to play in the success of any business. Furthermore, facilitation skills can also help team members to understand how to improve their business communication. When learning how to improve speaking skills and presentation skills, facilitation skills are important. Here are the steps to achieve effective facilitation skills
1. Set the ground rules
Always begin by setting the objectives. Having an outline structure and time for reflection is very helpful. Start by helping the group to clarify an outcome that is practical to achieve in the given time and aim to create an environment of trust and confidentiality.
2. Always be impartial
The challenge is to influence the group and not dominate it. This means being able to suppress your own ideas and encouraging others to talk. A facilitator needs to only encourage the group to consider his/her ideas not as a dictator.
3. Understand group dynamics
The key is to unlocking the group’s potential to achieve its goal because this is where one can get into the interaction between group members. It is important to make use of questions to clarify, concentrate on the emotional temperament and try to read the body language for any answers.
4. Use your own personality
A facilitator’s role is being all about the energy and confidence with which he or she brings their facilitation skills forward. To create an open and honest environment, people need an empathic personal presence and the group needs to respect and believe in you. They also need to feel confident that a facilitator will be able to deal with any obstacle and guide them in the right direction.
5. Intervene only when necessary
It is important to continuously notice what is going on with the group and then decide what to do about it. A challenging group can be tricky to handle. Facilitator may need to ask difficult questions which might draw attention to difficult process issues which the group may find uncomfortable to deal with sometimes.
6. Handling tough situations
Dealing with difficult people and conflict are two of the major challenges to an effective facilitation. With conflict, there are tactics and skills that one can develop to respond to such situations because success is often determined by how an issue is addressed. If one comes across a tough individual, one may choose to confront that person in private and give them feedback their impact on the group.
7. The art to practice
Having good facilitation skills is an art and not a science. The skills that are involved – good observation and listening, observing body language, understanding human psychology, can all be achieved through continuous practice. The more we practice our facilitation skills, the more comfortable we will become as a facilitator.