I consider facilitation my core skill. Facilitation is a distinct role to chairing or moderating.
The word “facilitation” is from the Latin, facilis, which means “to make easy”; the facilitator’s role is to make it easier for the participants to do their work. The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking – serious, creative thinking by engaged, committed individuals working to make wise decisions. A facilitator strives to be as neutral as possible, directing the process of decision-making rather than the content.
Facilitation It is not the same as moderating, coordinating, or chairing discussion. Robert’s Rules are normally not followed in facilitated discussion, however, a set of ground rules are agreed to at the outset.
I trained as a facilitator in the early 1990s as part of my training for a Certificate in Alternative Conflict Resolution at Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation (CIIAN) in Ottawa. More recently, I attended workshops with Anima Leadership in Toronto and I have facilitated many meetings since.
A word on conflict resolution…..
I do not practice mediation per se, however, I can recommend procedures and facilitate meetings where conflict resolution is the goal. My skills were honed in my training as a mediator.
As a process coach, I attend your meeting to monitor your attention to process, either intervening in real time or making notes for immediate, post-meeting. Except in cases where tension is high and the Chair’s role is contested, I recommend intervening in real time.