What does a Facilitator do?

A facilitation consultant or professional facilitator is not the most common job title. Actually, many people might actually wonder what "facilitate" even means. I will save you the trouble from looking it up:

1. to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.): Careful planning facilitates any kind of work.
2. to assist the progress of (a person).

a person responsible for leading or coordinating the work of a group, as one who leads a group discussion: Each committee will meet with its facilitator.

So it is clear in this context that a facilitator works to make things easier for other people and this most often takes place within meetings or group discussions. The modern business practice of facilitation has taken on greater significance as companies continue to realize how bad meetings drain productivity or how boring corporate retreats hurt morale (instead of the boost they were looking for).

Typically, when a facilitator is hired, a client is receiving a set of core services:

  • Session planning and logistics
  • Development of agenda based on needs of client (the internal leader)
  • Coordination of attendees and assigning pre-session materials or prep-work
  • Leading exercise, questions and discussions throughout the meeting
  • Balancing voices in the room and ensuring all ideas are given opportunity
  • Note-taking and/or capturing session discussion for record
  • Summarizing results and setting up next steps and deliverables

Beyond these core services, facilitation can take many shapes and formats and can venture into all realms of business. From corporate retreats to the board room to workforce engagement meetings, facilitators can make a huge difference in unlocking the wisdom in a group, building better relationships and unifying team members around a common vision and purpose.

The next time you are considering pulling your team out of the office for an executing offsite or a team building experience, consider getting in touch with a facilitation professional. It could be the difference between a lost opportunity and deep, long-lasting ROI.