Don’t Know? Facilitate!

For many years now, one of the chief things that I have done for my clients is to facilitate. But what is that exactly?

A facilitator, one who facilitates, is someone who smoothes the way for others, making an easy path to follow.

Often the facilitator knows little or nothing of the subject matter that the client is dealing with. And that’s OK. Actually, it’s great. Because the facilitator would only get distracted by it.

I find that it’s better when I don't know enough about the subject matter to try to solve my clients' problems. So instead what I do is facilitate their solving of their own problems. My operating assumption is that they know all that they need to know and that they just need some help finding their way to the “aha” . . . and then expressing it.

Does a facilitator know stuff? Sometimes, as a facilitator, I feel empty. Like I am content-free. But that's not really true.

The "body of knowledge" that a facilitator brings to his or her work includes what some call "group process:" understanding groups, how they work, the Task and Relationship dimensions of groups, the problems that groups often experience, and ways to help groups achieve their objectives.

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