Thursday, April 29, 2010


Part of my job involves acquring competencies to be a skilled and politically correct facilitator. In many negotiations and discussions, I've to intentionally create a group consensus or at least give the impression of democracy while steering the group towards a mutually agreeable (or pre-set) outcome or objective. There can be neutral facilitation or purposeful facilitation to create conversations and meet objectives.

There have only been a few professional facilitators so far, whom I'm in awe of and defer to. One, especially so, in terms of her industry knowledge, experience, intellect and amazing common sense. It's been frequently said that facilitators don't need to be subject matter experts. I beg to differ. Sure the process is there to draw out expert opinions and comments. But I feel facilitators should read up on the subject or at least demonstrate broad understanding of certain issues. Not everyone can be a facilitator. There's a certain aura and confidence that a facilitator needs to have in order to take the process up to the next level. It's very painful to see a facilitator obviously out of her league and doesn't quite know what to do, and worse, make politically incorrect boo-boos.

A couple of facilitation sessions have confirmed my suspicions about what I feel towards this skill. I've always known that I don't like this thingy. I can do it. I think I can do it decently, but I don't like it. It expends a great deal of energy. I'm too lazy to do that. I'm not good enough anyway. *shrug* I've had to attend training sessions to acquire this skill, which provided a good start, but unfortunately, not as much depth as I'd hoped. I'm so arrogant as not to think very highly of the my trainers because what they're teaching can be found on the internet and in the books. It's kinda colloquial. They're not adding enough value to classroom-based learning. Importantly, they're not hitting the right notes with the so-called Gen X, Y and Z learners who expect a hell lot more out of training sessions. These trainers stick to the traditional methods of downloading information which isn't exactly in the vogue now. I'm not meeting the true professionals. Why.

The facilitation skills taught in these basic classes are too generic and doesn't quite address the politically-correct part of it on an international level. That's a specific area I've to learn on my own and perhaps try it again sometime. Along with the accumulation of experience, practice makes perfect, I suppose.


sinlady said...

the training and commitment are important, but i think being a really good facilitator is an inherent talent one either has or has not.

imp said...

sinlady: perhaps. i haven't figured it out yet. but there're vibes from the different facilitators. same process, but i can prefer one over the other and can perfectly pinpoint it to the intonation, choice of language, phrasing, pauses and little physical gestures that the individual might not even know he/she makes.