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Group Session Facilitation



It's likely that once or twice a year you get your team together for a strategy or planning session, maybe offsite or perhaps just taking the form of an extended meeting.


As the business owner or senior manager, you probably usually attempt to run these sessions yourself, and by doing so you may run up against one or all of the following obstacles:


  • you can't stay neutral

  • you fear that not everyone will be willing to say something that you may disagree with or that they feel will cause them to be judged unfavourably

  • you don't know when to speak and when to shut up

  • you cant 'stay in the moment' because you're too busy writing everything down

  • you don't have an accurate recall of what happened because you were trying to stay in the moment and didn't write anything down!


These sessions are really important for a business, and yet they are often far less effective than they might be for the reasons above.  An external facilitator who is substantively neutral, and who has no decision-making authority can help the team and the leader focus fully on the subject in hand.  


At heart, facilitation is about implementing a process that will:


  • treat everyone as equals (it's surprising how quickly a leader can accepted as 'one of us' as soon as they are sat down with everyone else, behaving like everyone else)

  • ensure everyone's views are heard

  • help a group identify and solve problems and make decisions

  • challenge individuals and thinking where necessary

  • ensure the session goals are reached in the allotted time


How does it work?


I would meet with you at least a couple of weeks before the session to agree the process, the topics to be covered (including any teambuilding exercises etc) and the session goals.  I would then come along on the day, facilitate the session (with as much input from you as you wish/think necessary) and provide the resulting materials (notes, transcripts) within the agreed timescale. A debrief soon after can often also be useful, particularly where difficult issues have been raised or there are tricky relationships within the team.






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