Stages of Facilitation

The facilitation model outlines the key responsibilities a facilitator can assume, including structuring work phases and methodically guiding group dynamics.

The facilitation method described here focuses specifically on the phases of facilitation and does not encompass other aspects such as community building, conflict management, or creativity techniques.

1. Phase: Topic, Goal, Outcome

While the Topic, Goal, and Outcome are set during the initial briefing, they need to be reaffirmed with the group at the beginning of the facilitation. The facilitator revisits the group’s task, clarifies their collective goal, and highlights the benefits they aim to achieve.

If stakeholders (e.g., leaders) participate in the facilitation, they can act as „sense-makers“ by clearly articulating the goal and benefits at the beginning of the session.

2. Phase: Gathering

In the second phase, participants gather helpful aspects related to the question at hand. This includes collecting solution-oriented, critical, and relevant ideas, needs, suggestions, concerns, and both main and sub-points, then visualizing them. It’s important to allow all input, as there can be significant differences in opinion on what is helpful and relevant. The group is in the „Storming“ phase of group dynamics.

3. Phase: Selecting

During the „Selecting“ phase, ideas from Phase 2 are clarified, clustered, and prioritized. This corresponds to the „Norming“ phase of group dynamics. A shared understanding of the situation and the next logical steps begins to emerge.

4. Phase: Processing

Depending on the facilitation’s objectives, the „Processing“ phase may involve making decisions, producing results, resolving conflicts, or exchanging feedback. The group is now in the „Performing“ phase.

5. Phase: Documenting

The facilitation process is usually continuously visualized through tools like labeled facilitation cards and flipcharts.

This phase focuses on documenting outcomes rather than the process. This could include photos of results, a list of key insights, or concrete tasks to be followed up. Video documentation with participant comments can also be effective.

6. Phase: Transfer 

The transfer of facilitation results occurs after the actual facilitation session. A facilitator can enhance the likelihood of implementation by clearly defining and delegating tasks and fostering emotional commitment to the outcomes. A follow-up meeting with the team or stakeholders can further strengthen the transfer process.

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