Facilitation/Evaluating Facilitation Skills

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Evaluating Facilitation Skills

Major Challenge

  • Evaluating someone's competencies on paper.

Distinctions between Teaching/Training & Facilitation

  • ...is how one uses questions to get to the same end. The question one poses and the sequence in which they pose questions can be a good indicator of facilitation skills. (Alain)
  • ...becomes apparent when the questions posed lead to a specific outcome (directive teaching mode) vs. using questions to generate data from which the participant may decide to take action on. That to me is that true essence of facilitation.


Strategies

Use Scenario-based Interviewing

  • set the situation and ask “What "specifically" would you adopt a facilitative approach in this situation?”
  • see if the individual goes towards training or facilitation.
  • Note the use of the word specifically, which opens the door for more probing questions if the first response is generic or “Text-book”.
  • set up the question with a 'training-style intervention', and see if the interviewee can navigate around it, and move towards facilitation. (Christopher)
  • deliver a short "teach" to me to find out how they approached it.
  • assess how they ask questions to draw out learning (Alain)
  • consider conducting a Behavior based interview.
  • use a Facilitation Skills Self-Assessment (Judy)
  • use International Association of Facilitators (IAF) competencies
  • design and prepare a session outline, detailed agenda or scenarios which give us some indications (i.e., walk them through it)


Past Experience

  • look at their past experience and who they've worked with

Learning & Skills Development

  • look at their past learning, training, mentoring, coaching (i.e., have they learned a facilitation approach?)
  • look for specific Facilitation training
  • look for experience facilitating different types of discussions, this might show neutrality and no content expertise, find out if they are comfortable relying on process.

Interview References

  • have detailed discussions with people provided as references who have seen them work, if possible.
  • get testimonials, references with clients they have facilitated, there is nothing more valuable than experience.

In Summary...

  • ask about their understanding about the difference between training and facilitation skills.
  • consider whether you are using the person as a trainer; or as a trainer using facilitative skills (Socratic method); or as a true pure facilitator in meetings? (sometimes people use the wrong skill in the wrong situation)
  • do they design, deliver or do?
  • ask them to explain a situation where they have used training skills to explain something and a situation where they have used facilitation skills.
  • ask them to do a 10 or 15 minute demo piece for you, if that's possible, using either Skype or something, where you can actually see them using the different skills in the situation that you need them for. In that way you may be able to assess where they sit on the range between "talking head" and facilitator and you could coach and redirect them to use the appropriate skills in the situation they will be facing.

Resources

  • Facilitation Course Manual, Brin Sharp
  • Facilitating with Ease
  • Advanced Facilitation Skills
  • Facilitation Skills Self-Assessment (adapted from Ingrid Bens' book)
  • IAF Competencies
  • The Art of Focused Conversation, ICA Associates, Toronto, 1 877 691 1422.
  • (It's a wonderful resource for learning the art and science of facilitation, and designing the sequence of questions for a facilitated conversation that is different from teaching is ICA's focused conversation book. It has 100 conversations documented. It also gives a great overview of the metholdoogy of how to design.a facillitated concersation from start to finish (Joanna))
  • Generative Dialogue resources (re: iCentro Method)
  • Questions that Work, Dorothy Strachan


Notes

  • One cannot be certified as a facilitator by using a training approach and have material that illustrates the differences. (ask Julie)


(image:comment.gif: Special thanks to Alain, Judy, Joanna, Hilary, Madelena, Christopher & Diane Randy Fisher 11:35, 8 December 2009 (UTC))

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