Facilitating in the Moment

Over the past few weeks I have spent quite a bit of time either facilitating or coaching other facilitators in various sessions.

My natural style of facilitation is to prepare only the very basics in terms of materials I need, how I will check people in and out and the overall goal for the session. I may think about the format I want to use however I also ensure it’s not something I’m tied to on the day.

If I look back at the sessions that have unfolded recently, a few things have happened.

  1. We very rarely followed the agenda that was created up front

2. The sessions evolved into the need of the participants in that moment

3. Everyone walked away with a real feeling that they had achieved valuable outcomes

When approaching the facilitation of a session I have mostly seen 2 approaches unfold…

  1. I have planned for the session and have everything prepared. I then will keep the group to the agenda and strict time boxes to get what we agreed up front.

2. I have planned just enough to start the day and I will follow the flow of the participants and continuously co-create the agenda as we move through it.

Sometimes there is a balance that needs to be struct between both of the above if for instance you are delivering training on a specific topic. However I would say it’s important to remember…

I find that by doing this the participants are able to enhance their experience and the level of value they get from spending that time together.

If you are interested in facilitation in the moment here are a few tips to help….

· Ask people what they want to get out of spending that time together

· Identify the starting point to get things moving

· Listen for the signs of flow that will help shape the next focus point

· Regularly check in with the participants to see if they are still gaining value in that moment

· Set time boxes but don’t enforce them, allow the flow and participants to decide what to do

· Mentally treat the experience as an experiment, learning and evolving from each conversation

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