Lord Melchett’s wisdom for facilitators

Viv and I have been kicking around some materials to use for facilitator training and I’ve been wrestling with my resistance to making definitive statements about facilitation. Versus the need sometimes to offer people some kind of structure rather the burbling like some cod philosopher.

In an episode of the Elizabethan Blackadder Edmund has announced his intention to go sailing in search of a new world. Lord Melchett confidently offers him a map of the territory he will explore, produced the nation’s finest cartographers. It turns out to be blank and Melchett adds with suitable change of tone, that it would be nice if Lord Blackadder could fill it in as he goes along.

Perhaps these materials have to offered in that spirit. What attracts me to facilitation is not that it is predictable but that lively engagement with human beings has the qualities of adventure. We must be willing to make our map based on what we find rather than let a comforting map fool us into unwarranted certainty about where we should be going.

That Blackadder secretly plans no adventure at all, but to go hide in France for year, may present a second moral lesson for facilitators, but that’s for another day…

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