On not being a master facilitator

FacilitationBook_final_hi.pdf-page-1-of-381.jpgRob Paterson tweeted very flatteringly about our new book. I am trying not to be a tedious self-promoter but it was jolly nice of him.

Still, I have to admit I panicked at being described as a “master” at facilitation. I immediately thought of several very unmasterful things I’ve done in meetings, and not so very long ago either. I won’t even start on the many things I’ve facilitated quite blisteringly incompetently in my personal life.

I don’t think you can ever master facilitation because the ways we humans interact are way too rich, complex and mysterious for any of us to really fathom. One of things Viv and I find ourselves repeating when doing training is to get real about the likelihood of mistakes and failure. That usually comes as a big relief to people. It’s also pretty useful when contracting with clients not to buy in to the tendency to idealise what’s possible in meetings and set unrealistic, and I would say inhuman goals for them.

What we’ve tried to do with the book is talk realistically about our practice and resist the ever-present temptation to show off. Some facilitations seem to go really well, and some are difficult and painful. But they are – to me – always painful in interesting ways, ways that I can learn from. I think if things always went well I’d get bored very quickly.

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