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Team facilitation in an organization is a very tedious exercise. A lot of pressure amounts for both the participants and the facilitator when conducting the activity therefore and mixed reactions are generated from the experience. Exhaustion and demoralization among the team members may seem to damage the relationship among the participants and this lowers the performance of the team and the results of the activity is disappointing. However, the facilitation process will determine the outcome of the performance and the results of the team (Sharry, 2007). It is very important for both the facilitator and the team members to collaborate in order to achieve the set objective. The exercise needs to be exiting and active with full participation and the driving force identified.
There are important tools which can be used in the facilitation process. These tools are including conceptualization, visualization, and purpose.
Conceptualization: This includes the activities that both the participants and the facilitators use to carry out tasks in the team. This includes aspects of obtaining information by observation, from experience and data gathered (Naeve, 2006).
Visualization: this is also another tool which enables the facilitator and the participants to focus on the positive side of the goal they are to achieve.
Purpose: Everyone in the team should have a purpose for taking part in the tasks which is to achieve a common goal. In this case, the participants and the facilitator should share knowledge with everyone, share the insights and also share their understanding with everyone to achieve a common goal.
The process of facilitation needs to be well planned and the spirit of togetherness should be the driving force. The techniques applied in the facilitation process are vital to the participants. The participants at work should understand what they are doing by the help of a facilitator. The process used to facilitate the participants is as an important factor implemented in the activity needs participants to be committed to what they are doing and also persevere because the tasks are not easy but with determination it is achievable.
The experience as a facilitator at my work place earned me great lessons. The participants were very curious to know how I will help them in the tasks when one of my workmates, Janet shot an indirect question about my facilitation qualification. As a mater of fact, a facilitated does not have answers to the question, but to guide the team towards achieving the goal. However, the effectiveness of the facilitator is enhanced through long-term facilitation. A lot of controversies usually arise during the facilitation process. For instance, the participants may want the process to be conducted the way they want or by use of routine. My colleague, Amos complained about the changes that I brought far from the participants’ expectation. Change was not appreciated but it was upon me to explain to them and make them understand why I did that.
As a participant, sometimes the roles assigned to an individual may be difficult to tackle. This is discouraging, therefore some team members will need to come to the rescue by helping the participant to do the work (Schwarz, 2002). Everyone in the team has some strength in one part and weakness in another part. In such cases, when there is togetherness the strength will be used in a vital way.
There are several techniques I learnt which can help in the facilitation process. They are used to enhance facilitation and make work easy for the participants and facilitators. To begin with, some techniques used to facilitate are:
Listening: The participants should develop good listening skills where the facilitator gives instructions and also as the other participants in the team contribute some ideas. Listening is important because it allows understanding and concentration by everyone in the team, this will enable the team to avoid making simple mistakes and wasting time.
Questioning: This tool is very important also. It assists the participants in data collection where they ask important question concerning the topic. Questioning also allows the participants and the facilitator to clarify their thinking on matters they are not sure of. This will guide everyone to follow the right procedures given. Another importance of asking questions is because it will help team member to challenge the assumptions thus directing them to the right path.
Summarizing: The participants and the facilitator should make summaries of what they have learnt and done during the whole process. The summary will be used to remind them everything incase they want to repeat the same process.
Apart from these techniques, there are also other techniques I have learnt and I found them very effective in the facilitation process.
Goal Setting; The main objective the team is to achieve the goal. Therefore, they need to set their goal so that they work hard towards it since working with known goal motivates the participants and the facilitator.
Encouraging: Some participants may be dormant in the team and may feel out of place because the tasks may not be easy to them. The facilitator also may be demoralized maybe because the participants are dull. The participants may use their strengths to encourage the inactive members in the team. They may do that by explaining to them in details and assisting them to understand. The facilitators can also be motivated by the participants by being active during the sessions and trying to answer questions asked. The facilitator on the other hand can encourage the participants by motivational talks and guiding them through the process using simple processes.
Managing Emotions: different emotions are expressed during the facilitation process from both the facilitator and the participants. The facilitator should be in a position to deal with the emotions from the tasks. Pressure may arise from the tasks but it is upon the facilitator and the team to control the situation. Managing pressure can be dealt with by taking breaks, far from the work environment. For instance the participants and the team members may go for coffee and involving themselves in different topics, making fun and laughing. This will help to reduce stress.
In summary, facilitation is all about the facilitator leading the participants towards achieving a common goal. The facilitator is also a participant although his/her job is guiding the team.