10 Convenient Beliefs for Facilitators

The notion of “convenient beliefs” seems helpful to me. This isn’t the truth, they aren’t hints or tips, they aren’t guiding principles – however it would seem to me that the participants would be helped if the facilitator adopts these beliefs, or at least acts like he or she has adopted them 🙂

1.      People are doing the best they can with the resources at their disposal

2.      People are trying to collaborate with each other (and the facilitator) in the best way they kn

3.      People are more convinced by what comes out of their mouths than anyone else’s – however apparently expert in the subject

4.      An engaged group is a better predictor of success than a content-clever facilitator

5.      The facilitators job is to design experiences not write programmes

6.      If the facilitator knows more than 10% of what is going to happen, it isn’t facilitation

7.      People already have the potential to achieve what they want

8.      A successful future is more likely built upon acknowledged strengths than acknowledges failures

9.      Emotional state and session structure are more the domain of the facilitator than the content

10.  The facilitator takes full responsibility for the process and participants take full credit for the outcome

Mediator Tactics

Useful article on mediation tactics on Wikipedia. I don’t necessarily ascribe to them all but useful to know what some mediators may do. I’ve copied them here

Mediator Tactics Discoveries

More than 100 distinct mediator tactics have been identified. Among the tactics that have been shown to work well, in the sense of producing long-lasting agreements beneficial to both sides are:

  • Helping the parties to understand each other’s positions, challenging them to come up with new ideas, and requesting their reactions to new ideas.
  • When conflict is severe, mediators often have to be quite active and even pushy (e.g., telling disputants that their demands are unrealistic) in order to achieve agreement.
  • When conflict is less intense, and the disputants are capable of talking productively with each other, it is best for mediators to be relatively inactive.
  • When disputant discussions are unproductive it is best to separate the parties (“caucusing”) and engage in problem solving with each of them.
  • Compliance to the terms of an agreement is enhanced when the parties emerge from the mediation with a positive relationship and when they view the mediation process as a fair one in which all of the issues came out.
  • Continued third-party attention to the conflict has been found to encourage compliance to agreements reached at the end of internal war (Hampson, 1996).
  • When there is a continuing relationship between disputants, helping them find a settlement for their current disagreement is often not enough. New conflicts may arise or deeper issues resurface.
  • Within the specific continuing relationship of marriage, marital therapists have found that training both the parties in problem solving skills, such as effective communication, identifying key issues, developing solutions that satisfy both parties’ needs, helps ease marital problems. Two evaluation studies have shown the value of this approach, and one of them (Johnson & Greenberg, 1985) has demonstrated that emotionally focused therapy is even more effective.
  • Emotionally focused therapy is the practice where, persistent maladaptive interaction patterns are identified, and husband and wife are encouraged to reveal the feelings and needs associated with these patterns and to “accept and respond to” their partner’s feelings and needs.
  • Programs have also been developed for training school children in problem solving skills, and evaluations of these programs have generally been quite positive.
  • In addition, many school systems have adopted peer mediation programs, in which students are trained to mediate conflicts that arise in their school. Evaluations of these programs have also been quite positive (Coleman & Deutsch, 2001).

Creative Thinking Tools – 6 Thinking Hats

My clients often ask me to help them understand Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hat model and how they can use it for creative thinking and strategic planning. Here are some of the slides that I often use, hope that they are of help

Managing Remotely with Companion Calls

I was at the City Business Skills network event last month and met a great guy there by the name of Goodwill Khathide. Goodwill works for Primecare who provide homecare for elderly people in the South and South East of England. We met when there was a great deal in the media about the care of elders, with lots of complaints and anxiety as well useful debates about the nature of “caring”. I mentioned this to Goodwill who talked passionately about his approach to managing quality with carers.

One of the things Goodwill talked about was what he callend “companion calls”. These were regular check-ins with his staff during the day – not just about work but just chats, finding out how people are if he could help etc. As somebody who has done quite a bit of training with managers in remote working this struck me as a great concept and one I’ll remember, hope that you will too.

Workplace Dynamics Approach to Mediation and Conflict Facilitation

Phil’s earlier career was in social work where he trained and practice extensively in counselling, family therapy and groupwork. At the time Phil was employed by the NSPCC which specialised in high-risk work with some of the most vulnerable families and young people in the South East. Many of Phil’s clients had experienced considerable trauma which caused them a great deal of difficulty in their relationships with friends, families and communities. During this period Phil learnt a great deal about holding the tension between an acceptance of the client whilst supporting them make important and often urgent changes in their lives.

On moving into the Leadership Development role Phil quickly realised the value of good quality conversations – within organisations, within teams, between companies and their customers and in the training room. Phil set out to explore these possibilities and this led to him developing a more facilitative approach to learning.

At this time Phil was introduced to Non-Violent Communication and the work of Marshall Rosenberg. Using the NVC model, Phil began running events for managers and their teams to assist them in finding better ways to talk about conflict and difference and to ask for a different type of working relationships and behaviour at work. This experience was invaluable in helping managers deal with very challenging performance and workplace behaviour issues.

Phil’s experience and expertise in helping teams in conflict grew. Using the Solution Focused approach, developed from Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Phil was able to run a day programme for teams with evident and consistent excellent results. Phil was able to help anxious clients with problems ranging from grievances, dis-engaged staff, threats of legal action, merging teams, de-motivation and caustic atmospheres. Key to Phil’s programme is a development of appreciation between team colleagues, combined with a focus on the future and what people want – all done at the best pace for those involved. In 2010, Phil began to run open courses for other facilitators, managers and HR professionals on how to use this approach.

In early 2011 Phil successfully completed the National Certificate in Workplace Mediation and began offering this service at the point of relationship breakdown with a high level of risk for those involved and their employers. This tried and tested model has brought considerable benefits to clients with a high success rate at a low cost. To be able to provide such a service is, for Phil, the culmination of many years study and practice.

Workplace Mediation

Unhappy workplace relationships interfere with your ability to get things done and risk formal action. Workplace mediation can bring about good solutions for everyone

Take a look at how I work

Team Facilitation

Your greatest assets are your staff. With team facilitated sessions I can enable you to access untapped resources. Help your people find their motivation and use these to deliver more for the business.

Find out more

Support for Managers

Specialising in building staff engagement and better relationships, I can provide training and coaching for your managers on how to get the best out of, and for, your staff.

find out more