The Facilitator as Conscious Sailor

I’m working on a Facilitation Skills course for leaders and thinking hard about how to distill 30 years of experience into a day. My definition of an effective facilitator is “Someone who makes the work of the group easier, through planned and spontaneous interventions.”  I think it captures the aspect of being of service to the group, and the facilitator’s responsibility to bring something important to the table.

A good metaphor comes to mind:  The way of the Conscious Sailor.

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What can a Team do in one day?

A leader I’m coaching asks me about facilitating a day of team-building. The start of a new year is a natural motivator for groups to reflect and plan. I tell her I prefer working with a team over six months, coaching them to a higher level of cohesion based on collective development. But this team only has a day. The question is, what can a team reasonably do in a one-day retreat?

  • Have fun, celebrate and relax together.

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Not the time for team building activities

The word team has been stolen from sports to become the label we apply to most all work groups. And when our work team acts in un-sportsmanlike ways, we are eager to provide a quick fix – whether it’s outdoor team building exercises, an off-site meeting or an evening at a local pub. Yet we discover that team building events, no matter how well intended,  doesn’t always work. Perhaps it’s not the time for team building.

Could it be that today’s popular T.V.

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Leaders Can Transition New Team Members

Just this month I learned something about horses that I didn’t know, when a friend of mine was working in a stable. She told me that when new horses are brought to be boarded, there is a method of introducing them to the herd that eases the transition and makes it safe for all the horses. As a leadership Coach, I have facilitated many “assimilation” meetings for arriving leaders and team members. While this intervention really helps, I realized that stable managers – and horses –

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Inspired by Curiosity (and the teams at NASA)

The first week of August 2012 was inspiring in many ways. We’ve been watching Olympic athletes give it their all. Then, last night NASA’s space lab/rover Curiosity landed successfully on Mars and began to beam images to earth. This sounds easier than it was, as the scientists and engineers involved called the landing on the Red Planet “7 minutes of terror.”(To see why, watch NASA’s explanatory video on YouTube called “Challenges of Getting to Mars”.)  It’s great when we can look at what’s happening in the world and focus on being inspired instead of being disenchanted.

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