But I’m a good facilitator!

There’s a game that improvisers sometimes play. It allows any actor to simply reject any offer they don’t happen to like from another player. At which point, the offeror is dragged off the stage by his fellow actors, and has to cry out “But I’m a good improviser!”

Like all improv set ups, a simple framework sparks all sorts of responses but for me it’s an exercise in naming, accepting and letting go of the part of us that think it knows what’s best for the group.

I was reminded of this by Chris Corrigan’s recent post, this bit in particular:

Imagine this construction:

1. People are yelling at each other.

2. They are in conflict and I hate conflict.

3. I am a peacemaker.

So yes, but in the moment, you are going to suffer some when the meeting you are running counters your experience of yourself. You will think that you are failing if you are “a peacemaker” and yet your participants ar eyelling at each other. As a facilitator, when I get caught in that kind of thinking, I notice that I immediately become quite useless to the group. Why? Because I have left reality and I am spinning around in my thinking about reality, suffering and self-involved as my identity and ego get challenged.

People who have no thoughts about conflict are incredibly resourceful when yelling arises. They simply see yelling, they are able to listen and observe and notice what is happening. But those of us that are still working on our comfort with conflict might shy away from it, shrink away in fear, try to paper over differences or deny the reality of the moment in favour of a temporary comfort.

1 thought on “But I’m a good facilitator!

  1. Robert Poynton

    A familiar feeling. I find there is a part of myself (and quite a vocal part) that is quite a stranger to the notion that you can look after yourself by looking after the group. This part feels that it is a risk to let go of the cherished idea one has of oneself (‘peacemaker’ or whatever) and yet in reality it is very calming – it is “an unsual combination of serenity and adrenalin” (to borrow the title of one of the chapters of my book ‘Everything’s an Offer’).


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