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Welcome to Facilitation Stories, where we discover how facilitators ended up in the profession, and how facilitation methods, principles and techniques are used more widely. Brought to you by IAF England and Wales. For more information on our chapter, click here.

Jun 22, 2020

In this episode we bring you a variety of different voices from different facilitators on a range of different topics.

The Evening Learning and Networking meet up on 24th June which is all about “Selling you and your work” this link will also take you to some of the other meet ups going on too.

The first of the voices in this episode is Susannah Raffe who tells us about the first IAF England and Wales Hub (the Climate Hub), followed Rachel Phillips, who attended the Hub launch meetup and talks about how much she enjoyed meeting other facilitators and how helpful this was. This Hub is about sharing knowledge, stories and insights into facilitator’s roles in tackling the climate crisis. The launch of the hub recently included neutrality vs advocacy and consider the role of the planet as the client.


There is an IAF Slack and one of the channels is #iaf-ew-climate-crisis 

Rachel Phillips 
Susannah’s twitter handle: Susannah Raffe: @SusannahRaffe

The next voices are Cat Duncan-Rees & John Varney who attended the IAF virtual coffee meet up in May. They talk about the opportunities to build connections in the move out of the covid 19 crisis. John describes the “pause” that has happened recently in the economic rush and how people are discovering things in life that have got lost. Facilitators have a chance to influence clients to move towards something more wholesome by reflecting on own values and the way we work so we can arrive at a better place in the end.

Cat talks about how her role is to create spaces for people to pause and considers how relationships can be reset and redefined for example between community and state. As well as between ourselves and each other. She talks about how change really takes hold when people feel it so it makes sense to them.

John talks about the softer and more sensitive side to life and the idea of a movement to a saner existence. Cat talks about her work in helping people connect with their job and role in life in a different way and about not losing the human connection.

Pilar next reads some text from Rosanna von Sacken who replied to tweets that followed episode 18 , about working with groups where there are different languages being spoken in the room (published 25 May 2020.

Rosanna’s contribution talks about how she presented and spoke at a virtual Russian Facilitators Network Conference where most people only spoke Russian. She reflect on some of the things she needs to remind herself when working with interpreters and translators.

Before the event:

Deciding if it will be a "push or pull” session.

Knowing the technology and support available.

Keeping it short and simple.

Translating the content ahead of time.

During the event:

Remembering to speak slowly and clearly.

Reminding herself to pause often.

Engaging the participants as much as possible.

Asking for feedback often via the interpreters.


Roseanna’s twitter handle: @rosanna_acf

Lastly Pilar talks to Simon Wilson about the role of asynchronous, non-real time communication. 

Simon describes some work over 4 synchronous sessions a week apart and work in between those sessions. He talks about how the participants from 8 different organisations had been split into 2 groups and how in the last session they had diverged in their ideas in the asynchronous work, which made it difficult to achieve consensus in the synchronous session. He talks about the perspective of facilitators in asynchronous and what he things are important to think about:

Do the group understand what they need to be doing in asynchronous work?

Do they have the time and energy to do asynchronous work?

To what extent is the activity accessible?

The facilitator to decide whether they are part of the group or not and to consider levels of check in and involvement with the group?

How do facilitators get paid for checking in with clients in between workshops when it is usual to get paid for the workshop?

How to facilitators get satisfaction from asynchronous work when often energy comes from the group?

Pilar shares her own thoughts and Simon describes how he tends to take a step back as a facilitator rather than get involved in between sessions. But that observation is useful and so the group inviting the facilitator into the asynchronous space is important.

Simon Wilson’s twitter handle: @wilsonsherriff

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Pilar Orti @PilarOrti