There are many different definitions of facilitation. Put simply, it is a process whereby a Facilitator, who is often a trained mediator, assists groups or indviduals to discuss potentially (but not necessarily) contentious matters in a respectful environment. The goal is to explore issues, share views, and if possible reach some consensus or at least a constructive outcome.
Facilitation differs from mediation in that it is not so much about resolving a dispute as managing a process of sharing views on matters.
Facilitation can be a “one-of” event or an ongoing process.
A lot of time is wasted in meetings which are allowed to meander on with no purpose or management. A specialist Facilitator can inject an independent, businesslike approach which will assist in decision-making and time management. An independent facilitator is particularly valuable when external stakeholders need to be involved.
Chris Rowe is often invited to facilitate discussions in the workplace, for example, where there are proposals for change in employee conditions or employment agreements, and where consultation is required.
In this situation the facilitator’s role is not to take sides, but to present material, invite feedback, listen for different views and when the session is concluded, to record a summary outcome.
On other occasions Chris is engaged to assist people who are working on strategic plans or other group activities which benefit from someone independent and trained in running a constructive meeting.
Sometimes employers ask Chris to facilitate disciplinary meetings for them. The benefit for the employer is that s/he can participate in the discussion without the added responsibility for managing the meeting and ensuring all parties present are given a reasonable opportunity to speak.