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Facilitator’s Pocketbook

Facilitator’s Pocketbook

Many people have the ability to direct, instruct, lecture, train and even to coach one or more individuals. However, even with long and varied experience, they do not necessarily have the ability required to get another person or a group of individuals to start to really understand a topic for themselves. In other words they may not have facilitation skills.

At its most basic level, facilitation is the process of helping participants to learn from an experience or activity. The literal meaning of facilitator is “one who makes things easy.”  A facilitator is therefore someone who uses knowledge of group processes to formulate and deliver the needed structure for session interactions to be effective.  The facilitator focuses on effective processes (group dynamics) allowing the participants to focus on the content or the substance of their work together.

Facilitation deals with behaviors, skills and techniques which help a group work together effectively and accomplish its purpose. The facilitator assists participants in discovering what they already know and offers alternative ways of interpreting their experience(s). The facilitator presents ideas and behaviors which encourage participants to critically examine and build on the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and assumptions by which they work and even live.

The role of the facilitator is to help individuals learn how to work together by providing the structure (process) while they remain focused on the content.  In any group session or meeting the facilitator must constantly balance process with content.

Learning to facilitate in group or team discussions does not appear to be a critical skill-set on the surface but it enables individuals to decide on the most suitable approach in the future when good facilitation may be the main way in which to get the results being sought. This innovative decision-making model is central to The Facilitator’s Pocketbook – a comprehensive guide covering all stages of facilitation, from planning through to implementation. Interpersonal skills (including attitudes and values) and session skills (including energizing and problem solving) are dealt with at length.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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