Reflections on Group Facilitation

I see Group Facilitation as a magical and noble task, because having a group under my responsibility involves being in charge of several human beings who seek to evolve in different aspects of themselves and their profession.

A group is much more than the sum of its parts

Each participant comes with their baggage accumulated in the trajectory of their lives and by becoming part of a group, this lived energy is enhanced. From it, different emotional stages arise that will contribute to the development of a synergy that needs to be catalyzed by the facilitator. The facilitator himself receives stimuli that will resonate within him and his experiences and, for magic to happen, he/she needs solid training, training that enables him to trust himself and the group in front of him. . As facilitators, we are vulnerable to our own beliefs, values ​​and emotions and, if unprepared, could hinder the process of developing the group entrusted to us.

The facilitator must recognize the group as a living and systemic organism, where the participation of each of its members generates a process that he/she has to learn to read, listens to and knows how to use. Understand that the group grows and evolves as a whole that it flows even when not all its members grow in the same way. The facilitator needs to be focused on what is happening in the group as things happen, not just on the content they have planned.

Facilitating is like a symphony that occurs due to the participation of all the instruments sounding as a whole, not only in the notes that each musician must play, it is the music of the group showing their needs expressed in their own language and not what the Facilitator wants to hear. ; It is from your ability as a facilitator to follow all these movements that together, Group and Partnering Facilitator do the magic.

Knowing different methodologies and authors that are pillars of the theory and practice of group dynamics is essential.

Here are some of my learning’s for facilitating groups:

  • Focusing on the individual needs of the Facilitator instead of the needs of the group brings difficulties.
  • It is important to establish at the beginning of a session a formal work “contract” and a psychological one, which involves the expectations of the group and mine as a Facilitator and what is feasible or achievable within the agreed work time;
  • It is important to have a solid and adequate training to work with groups, because the greater the breadth and depth of my knowledge, the greater my understanding of the group process. As K. Lewis said “nothing is more practical than a good theory”;
  • The wealth of the group is not in the technique, it is in the group and its members. The technique or exercise is only a means to facilitate the opening of a process that is latent in this group at that moment;
  • As a Facilitator I do not participate in the emotional reaction of the group, I am empathetic and act as a catalyst, I am not involved in it, I can see the situation from the outside;
  • The moments of silence in the group are an important ally to open up a space for me to understand what may be happening at a deeper and more subjective level in the group. It should not scare me. If I learn to listen to this silence, the group generally evolves.
  • I hope I have been able to share my vision from the angle of my experiences with facilitation and motivate you to seek to read and enrich your performance as Facilitators by learning every day.