The Facilitative Mind – reading situation and context

The facilitator leads a group by understanding the nature of power and politics in group interaction.  And, navigates group process throught the artful use of questions.

  •  Power and Politics: Every conversation in organizational life is fraught with power and politics.  Facilitators must do everything they can to discern the political issues within a group as well recognize both the explicit and implicit power structures that exist.  Even though the facilitator is often called in to be the disinterested, objective third party, to be unaware of the political forces within a group has the potential of rendering facilitators essentially impotent in performing their task.  Indeed, facilitators gain remarkable credibility when they are able to read the political issues within the group and can confront them tactfully – frequently through the asking of hard questions well.
  • The Questioning Facilitator:  the ultimate goal of any facilitator should be the mastery of being able to ask hard questions well.  Questioning, more than any other skill, may be the foundational skill upon which facilitators build their practice.  Questions have the capacity to penetrate beneath the smooth surface uncovering and revealing both context and content.  They can move from easy to hard, from polite to profound, from indirect to direct.  The level of questions is both based on context and creates context.  Questions are a much safer and less intrusive means of assessing a situation and context.  They generate, in a broader sense, an overall spirit of inquiry which assists the facilitator in reading the overall situation as well as enlisting others in unpacking the situation and context.



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