I have run out of the blog posts that I write ahead. I have no idea which direction to take this blog next. But I have found that, when you don't know how to say something, you don't know where to start, the best thing to do is to talk about your stuckness, or about your confusion, or about how difficult the topic is to broach. If you don't know where to start, talk about not knowing where to start.
Is that a process? I think so. In writing, doing that with your audience is inviting them to tacitly wait while you work through issues. But in facilitation, it is even more important. It is inviting the participants to take a role not only in shaping the content but in shaping the process. It is inviting them to share the facilitator's role.
I used to be active in the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), even serving for a time on the Association Coordinating Team (ACT), what the IAF calls their board of directors. I was serving during the time that the IAF came up with the process to designate someone a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF). I opposed the CPF designation and the process. While I applauded the desire to bring more professionalism to this largely misused word (how many times have you heard it said that someone was facilitating a meeting when they were nothing but a talking head or calling on people from panel to read their prepared remarks?), I had a fundamental problem with certification.
When I facilitate a meeting, one of my deeply-held process values is that anyone in that meeting can take any role. The best idea might come from the newest intern. Someone from personnel may point out the financial constraint, or someone from the shop floor might raise the human consideration. I am usually explicit about this belief, if not at the outset then for sure the first time someone gets shut down because it's "not their job." So how can I say anyone can fill any role, except mine? To do my job you have to be certified?


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