The 12 C’s to Facilitate like a Master

april 5, 2008

Tapping into your Facilitative Intelligence

Intervention Skill

It is important to make sure we have what it takes to be fully present and facilitate with all our inner faculties at hand. Most of us have sensed uneasiness or resistance while preparing to facilitate. It may have come up while reading the material, trying to fathom the audience or perhaps trying to sense the expectation of the group.

This hesitation or inner nagging voice, no matter how small, points to what is not right. We have the choice to follow through with the voice or simply ignore the feeling as nerves. Ignoring the voice may get us by but to facilitate like a Master, listening to one’s so-called ‘nerves’ is crucial as they carry the information that could take us from being average facilitators to exceptional facilitators.

When I first learned to facilitate Emotional Intelligence, I clearly recall how my teacher Alan Pakiela taught the class as though he was conversing with us. He made it all look so simple and straightforward. After observing him, I was scheduled to teach the course a month later and I was excited to facilitate something I thought I was a pro at.

I read the facilitator’s guide and came upon a few topics that did not seem to fit in well. I figured I would skip some of the sub topics as long as the key points were clear and concise. Prior to this I was accustomed to what is normally referred to in sales as ‘show up and throw up’, meaning your smarts and charisma will get you to where you want to go… WRONG! Smarts and charisma do not save the day.

D-day arrived and for most part of the two days, the program went off well; however, there were times that did not feel right and clearly reflected on the average participant feedback. My biggest take away from this session was that when something does not jive while preparing, hunt for the missing link till you find it.


Let us take a look at the 12 C’s to ensure we don’t leave a stone unturned while preparing to facilitate.

Content – Know the point of discussion, topic or material. Walk through the content a few times practicing in your mind how and what you would like the outcome to be and then be willing to let go.

Context – How does the content relate to the overall results we are aiming to create? How does it relate to the group, organization and organizational environment?

Cause – Understand the reason for the group coming together. Is the objective to learn, create, solve, celebrate or agree to disagree.

Capacity – Given the content and context, how far are you willing, able or open to take the group with the subject. Know where you stand in terms of your understanding of the group’s knowledge and your knowledge.

Calling – Pick the aspects of the discussion that call out to you. What aspects of the discussion are you intimate with and begin to build the pieces from that point of focus.

Chemistry – Look for the chemistry in the topic. If there is no chemistry between you and the topic, chances are there won’t be any chemistry between you and the group.

Clarity – Once you have the pieces together, rehearse in your mind till you obtain clarity. Clarity can come through insights, ideas, or a deeper understanding of the topic by doing your homework.

Comfort – Keep practicing till you are comfortable with the topic. Comfort is sensed in the gut while clarity is sensed in the mind.

Congruity – Check to see if the topic of discussion is congruent with who you are. Are you practicing what you preach? Are you walking the talk?

Consent – Check in with your head, heart and gut to sense their consent. When all three are aligned to the topic of discussion, your tone, attitude, demeanor, and words will match. Look for subtle resistance that comes up from your logic, heart or gut. Listen, for there is wisdom in the resistance that can provide information to fill the possible gaps.

Conviction – After walking through these C’s you will awaken a sense of conviction that will carry you through the facilitation process.

Courage – Now all you have to do is make sure you show up with a sense of courage to share, learn, and ride the process of facilitation.


Keep this check list handy till you own it.

About the Author
Steve Davis, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator’s Coach, Infoprenuer, and free-lance human, helping facilitators, organizational leaders, educators, trainers, coaches and consultants present themselves confidently, access their creativity, empower their under-performing groups, enhance their facilitation skills, and build their business online and offline. Does leading or participating in groups frustrate you? Subscribe to his free weekly ezine at http://www.MasterFacilitatorJournal.com and contact him here to schedule a free exploratory coaching session.

©2005. Steve Davis, www.MasterFacilitatorJournal.com. All rights reserved.


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