What is Group Facilitation?

The root word of facilitate is “facile” which means “to make easy.”

Facilitation has become a ubiquitous term used in many different contexts with the intended outcome of making people’s life easier.

What is group facilitation then?

Group facilitation has a very specific purpose: to establish an environment of authentic collaboration so a group can achieve consensus, make decisions, and produce quality outputs. Groups facilitated effectively reduce dysfunctional behavior, achieve buy-in and inclusion, and maximize the use of time.

Group facilitation is people skills and process skills. Combined together, they arm a leader with the necessary toolkit to get the most of every meeting, working group, and conference.

Facilitator Roles

A Facilitator assumes the role of a content-neutral task leader. They are in control of the people and the process but remain neutral towards the content.

Facilitators also play several other roles in a facilitated session:

Guide. Facilitators keep the group focused and on task to ensure desired outcomes are achieved.

Motivator. A Facilitator must bring energy and keep the group’s energy level high and watch for signs of fatigue.

Social Adept. Facilitators employ a wide range of social skills: they see signs of weariness, dysfunction, and disempowerment and take action; they actively listen; and they work towards building an environment of trust in the group.

Aaron and Jerry discuss the Facilitator Roles of Guide, Motivator, and Social Adept

Facilitation: People and Process

Facilitation skills are 50% and 50% process.

Facilitation is about people. Even the most passionate and smart group of people can have difficulty communicating, problem-solving, and achieving consensus.

Facilitation is designed to create healthy ideological conflict, reduce dysfunction, and enable group consensus-based decisions.

Facilitation is about process. Agenda models and processes are designed to take groups from disparate thoughts, ideas, and opinions into achieving group objectives, outcomes, and coherent, finished products.

Aaron and Jerry discuss how Facilitation is both
people and process

Managing Dysfunction

Dysfunctional behavior in group settings can result in wasted time, declining morale, and frustration. How many meetings have you attended that ended up being dominated by the Loudmouth, the Storyteller, or the Broken Record? Aggressive dysfunctional behavior is easy to spot, but just as disruptive to progress are the Dropout, the Busybody, or the Sidebar Quarterback.

Facilitators know how to recognize these dysfunctional behavior types, apply immediate action to mitigate the symptoms of dysfunction, and works towards solving the root issues causing the problem.

Everything in facilitation is designed to increase consensus and reduce dysfunction.


Facilitation is about empowering groups of people. Leaders and organizations make decisions daily, but the most effective decisions are the ones that are created and supported by the group.

Buy-in and inclusion are not just buzzwords. Members given a voice and allowed an opportunity to create solutions and assist in decision-making feel empowered and part of the organization.

Facilitation skills provide leaders with the tools they need to create authentic collaborative group environments that produces results!

Decisions created by, and supported by, groups in organizations are more effective and more
likely to succeed!

Facilitation & Leadership

There is a natural synergy between facilitation skills and leadership. Being a “facilitative” leader is truly just another way of describing Servant Leadership.

Facilitative Leaders strive to use their ears more than their mouths by Active Listening, prioritize getting subordinate input and opinions, and always tries to provide the “why” when giving directions or tasks.

Join Aaron and Jerry as they discuss the important topic of facilitation and leadership.

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