Guest blog by Kirsty Lewis for WeCommend.com: L&D providers we’re all shouting about
As more companies recognise the power of harnessing their leadership teams to deliver learning, more people are realising it takes more than standing at the front of the room and talking ‘at’ a group to create a change. Once you have mastered the basics it’s the small changes that make the difference. Check out these five simple tips to help your facilitation flow:
1. Be clear on what the outcomes are
As the facilitator, are you clear on the outcomes for the individuals, the group and the overall business? These can be three different outcomes. It’s important to know them so that you can weave the themes into your language throughout your session and more importantly the sessions you have designed are relevant.
2. Know your opening line
Having trained trainers sometimes people want to write themselves a script. Whilst this may provide mental security for you it can become restrictive and all consuming. You will have done all the relevant preparation for your session. If anything rehearse your opening sentences. Know them, deliver with confidence and trust that you know what to say next.
3. Let go
I will admit I like to be in control of a situation. I want to know where I am heading. As a trainer I have to release this behaviour as sometimes you just don’t know what a delegate is going to say. Adults can be unpredictable, they say and do stuff you weren’t expecting, ask you questions that are leftfield. Embrace this. Know that you can deal with the unpredictable. Sometimes a deep breath to centre yourself is enough. Notice when you want to be in control, what is happening around you? What are you thinking? What are you feeling?
4. Questions are your friend
I believe the difference between a good trainer and an excellent one is the capacity to listen to what the group are saying and ask a relevant question. Asking the group questions allows you to sense check their understanding of a topic, where they are at with their learning, to take a learner deeper into an area and allow them to come to their own conclusions. You can prepare some of your questions ahead of time and others in the moment. Start to notice the different responses you get when you ask an open or a closed question.
5. Be present
Easy to state, a little harder to do. I know that when I am running a bespoke workshop or testing material for the first time my mind is two steps ahead. What’s next? Have I got the right materials? How are the group behaving? Are they getting ‘it’? The alternative state is when I am running a workshop I know intimately. I am happy to let go of my control, I enjoy what comes up and am ready. I allow myself to sink into the energy of the room, really listen to what is being said, tune into my somatic responses and use my intuition as much as my head. Maybe I need to trust myself a little more in those new workshops, know I have the capability and knowledge to handle what arises.
Kirsty Lewis, Founder of The School of Facilitation, is always available for a chat – especially if good coffee is on offer: 07803 854293, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.schooloffacilitation.com