Characteristics of an effective facilitator:
- Engages in active and reflective listening
- Is empathetic and compassionate
- Has the ability to listen and think at the same time
- Knows that all participants have something to offer regardless of their education, experience, or identity
- Is knowledgeable about the topic
- Keeps personal views out of the facilitation so that all participants feel safe
- Keeps their ego out of the facilitation and does not have to be right
- Makes the participants feel safe
- Earns the participants respect
- Is the appropriate identify in relation to the identity(ies) of the group
- Is patient and calm
- Is flexible and adaptable
- Can manage challenging individuals and challenging group dynamics
- Can work in a team with other facilitators
The above list was put together by me for a training.
How would you evaluate your own potential as a facilitator? Which of these characteristics do you have? Which do you not have? Which do you need to build, strengthen and/or enhance? How might you go about building, strengthening and/or enhancing them?
Required Reading Materials:
Bens, I. (2012). Facilitating with ease! core skills for facilitators, team leaders and members, managers, consultants, and trainers. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: The Jossey-Bass.
Schuman, S. (Ed.). (2005). The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation: Best Practices From the Leading Organization in Facilitation. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.