What is facilitation? Facilitative is a word that has no fixed definition. Some dictionaries define it as follows: “the capacity for acting or the ability to act”. Others define it as “a role that involves taking decisions in a meeting or conversation”.
A facilitative agent is usually a professional who facilitates discussions or meetings between individuals and groups. Their role is usually to keep the participants involved in the process of planning, executing, monitoring and leading the activities of the group. A facilitator is also known as a moderator, a coach, a consultant, a facilitative manager, a speaker, a script writer, or a team leader. In other words, they are someone who plays an important role in a collaborative activity, helping people reach their goals.
There are different types of facilitation practices. It can be a team setting up facilitation workshops, which are facilitated by the heads of departments or teams in order to attain specific group goals. Facilitative sessions may also include a leadership conference where all the senior members of the organizations or teams are present, and they determine the ways to reach the set goal, in a collective way. Another form of facilitative activity is the problem-solving workshop, where the facilitators try to find out the cause or the solutions for the problems that the participants are facing. In order to reach the goal, they should encourage ideas from the groups and not try to impose their own ideas on the participants.
The most common form of facilitative activity is in the classroom. The teacher makes an introduction, followed by a discussion between the teacher and the students, about the topic of discussion. After this, facilitators assist the students to construct their own view points and help them to articulate it to the rest of the class. Then, facilitators facilitate group discussions, and after the discussion, give a review to the students about what has been achieved.
The other most common facilitative process used is one based on case studies. In this type of facilitative practice, a case study is used to set up the topic and then it is related to the business case. Facilitators then assist the people involved with understanding the case study, its significance to the overall goal, what needs to be done to implement it, how the process needs to be carried out, and how everyone will benefit from it.
Another common use of facilitative activities is group problem solving. This kind of activity can help the people in a team learn how to work collectively towards a common goal. It helps in identifying problems that the team has to face, as well as finding ways to overcome those problems. Through this, the group members are made aware of what they have to contribute to reaching the ultimate goal of the company.
An example of a facilitative process may be, having the team hold a training session when they learn about the company’s goals. At the end of the session, the team will create an action plan to reach their goals, as well as the team members’ individual goals. The next day, the group will assess their progress towards reaching the team goal. If they find that some of their methods are not working or need to be adjusted, they will start working on the plan again.
What is facilitation is not a short-hand for explaining the definition of terms like” facilitative”, “problem-solving”, and “cooperation”. These are very much important concepts in defining these kinds of practices. However, in most cases, it will refer to the procedures and techniques used by a team to meet its goals. So, in any case where you find a “facilitative process” mentioned, don’t be confused. It is a synonym for problem-solving, motivation, planning and cooperative efforts.