Being Your Own Best Intervention

As a facilitator, you bring three things to your practice: knowledge, skills, and Self.

Knowledge is a grounding in and working familiarity with the body of theory, research, concepts, and models pertaining to the field of group facilitation. This is the knowledge we gain from books, journals, conversations, dialogues, seminars, and other forms of study and learning.

Skills are the practiced ability to act on, carry out, and support the actions and interventions prescribed by the theory that is in our knowledge base. This involves things like listening, presenting, observing, sensing, supporting, challenging, and diagnosing. Skills are developed through experiential learning; apprenticeships; and practice, practice, practice.

The Self is everything we are -- our beliefs, values, and life experiences as they become manifest in our attitudes, needs, and motives. In all of life, and especially in group facilitation, our Self determines our ability to use our knowledge and skills.

Of these three, the Self is the most important. No matter how much we know or how hard we practice, if we are blocked in applying the knowledge and skills we have developed it will adversely impact our performance as facilitators. Conversely, there are people who, because of who they are, have a seemingly natural talent for helping a group achieve results even without the theory, even the first time they get in front of a group.

Use your presence to set a mood and tone for the meeting. If you are calm, the group will be calm. If you are hopeful, the group will be hopeful. If you are choiceful about when to intervene and what process to use and getting the group to agree to process issues, the group will be mindful of process. If you trust, the group will be trustworthy. If you play mind games, the group will play mind games. If you look for hidden meanings and subterfuges, they will be there. But if you are very clear in your communications and take the statements of others at their face value, they will begin to communicate clearly as well.