The term ‘facilitator’ often makes an appearance in the context of learning environment. In the fields of management, learning, businesses, and training, the role of a facilitator is prominent. Roger Schwartz, in “The skilled facilitator,” sheds light on the immense personality building and refinement of thought that it takes to be a good facilitator when he says “Becoming a facilitative leader means changing how you think in order to changes the consequences you help create.”
This simply makes one reflect how facilitation is the art of thinking in the right direction that ultimately helps initiate or facilitate any managerial situation. More often than not, a facilitator is believed to be the person in charge of a training session or somebody who ‘conducts’ a meeting or a debate.
However, the expanse of this role is inadvertently blended into all industries. It is a life skill and an ability to ‘compile’ the remnants of information. Facilitators are found in the annals of every business, functioning as primers to recruitment and management. True to the nomenclature of their role, they expedite learning and information flow.
The role of a facilitator is not to ‘conduct’ a process, as is the general perception; but it is to ‘facilitate’ it. It is the responsibility of a facilitator to supervise ‘how’ a process is progressing. It entails maintaining the direction of process flow. He/she is responsible for addressing the route to the final destination rather than the destination itself. Every organization is concerned with not only the final decision arrived at but the way in which that conclusion was made.
A facilitator, in that sense is somebody who refines this approach. He/she encourages the staff and personnel to participate in the decisions made in a company. The facilitator is therefore responsible for eliminating the rigid framework of autocracy in management and bringing about a democratic functionality.
The responsibility of a facilitator is thus immense. Primarily because, it has to do with innumerable ideas and balancing the workflow, between different people with varied perspectives; Individuals carry different perspectives because of their wide range of experiences and fields of work. Businesses largely depend on facilitators to encourage and build a collaborative work force.
What makes a facilitator competent?
Facilitation could be made effective principally by incorporating different work approaches. He/she must be capable of eliciting enthusiasm and participation from people. They function in a style that evokes discussion and response rather than plain statement. A facilitator is not purely goal-oriented; he/she is involved in the journey of achieving that goal. He/she does resorts to enthusiasm than sequential and organized procedural approach.
So, what is the ultimate ‘goal’ of a facilitator?
Many may conclude that is facilitator is then purely task-oriented. What are the common goals of a facilitator, if any?
All personnel, as is evident, have specific goals for functioning; so do facilitators. An effective facilitator has some of the following common goals:
- Counseling people into committing to common goals of a task.
- Being approachable and enthusiastic
- Being vigilant of harmful digressions
- Enhancing the overall enthusiasm of the workforce while achieving set targets.
So, for anybody who would be involved in facilitation, it may be important to bear in mind a paradox to the standard rule – “the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” This is a paradox as it surpasses the conditioning of the human mind to be purely result-oriented.