"Every human being must find his own way to cope with severe loss, and the only job of a true friend is to facilitate whatever method he chooses." — Caleb Carr
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As a Facilitator of Fascination I often get asked what exactly that title means—and since we’ve explored fascination in previous episodes, today’s Magic Word will focus on facilitation.
I recently spoke at a conference in Las Vegas and while there I took the opportunity to visit the surrounding desert. Thousands of years ago it was a tropical ocean and over time it evolved into the beautiful landscape that it is today—complete with stunning rock formations featuring a myriad of colors and textures.
The stark contrast between the two areas—the Vegas Strip and the arid desert—got me to thinking about the difference between training and facilitation.
They both have similar qualities and they both have their role in growth and development. In fact, even though my main role is that of a facilitator, part of my work actually does involve training, but the two processes are approached in different ways:
Training adds to your skill set, or that of your team, while facilitation takes what’s inherent and brings out desirable possibilities. Interesting examples of these are the Vegas strip—an example of adding external factors like hotels and casinos—and the Vegas desert—an example of bringing out inner factors like rock and mountain formations.
To understand how facilitation works, consider three key factors of facilitation: Opportunity, Perspective, and Resources.
Facilitation offers us the opportunity of time and space to focus inward and address questions, challenges, and goals.
For the desert this was expressed by being given literally hundreds of thousands of years to cultivate its landscape.
For you and I this can be expressed as a professional development day, a private coaching session, quiet time with a journal, or even just taking some time to meditate.
Facilitation offers us the opportunity of perspective, gaining a fresh set of eyes from which to view our circumstances
For the desert this can be expressed by seeing the mountains as former sand dunes and the wavy texture of the rocks as ripples from the ancient ocean.
For you and I this can be expressed as inviting a disinterested* outsider in to ask probing questions and lead activities that guide us to discover new key insights, creating opportunities where we perhaps once only saw problems.
(*By disinterested it is meant someone who isn't biased towards any particular process or outcome, but who instead serves as a medium to facilitate self or team discovery.)
Facilitation offers us the opportunity to recognize and take stock of all available resources that can be used to bring about desirable outcomes.
For the desert this was expressed by all the resources of the ecosystem—the sand and water and vegetation and animals—all working together to cultivate the landscape to where it is today.
For you and I this can be expressed as identifying tools, assets, skills, personnel, and the like, that can all be utilized in new, novel, or unexpected ways to facilitate positive results.
If you work with an organization that could use a facilitator to help guide personal and professional growth for your team, then get the conversation started today. Email me now at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me directly at 800-969-9778. We'll discuss your needs and explore the possibilities of facilitating positive growth for you and the people you serve!
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.