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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.

4 ways to get started in Facilitation

Oct 17, 2022

You know you are great at holding space for a group, getting people together and thinking productively, exploring challenges or organising by getting everyone involved.  Listening, challenging, adapting and inspiring are skills you have honed.  


Maybe you have taken a facilitative approach to leadership, or in your organisation.  You’d love to move into facilitation as a career, in or outside of your current work, but where can you start?



Its likely that you have taken a facilitation approach when working with groups or teams in your work or social group.  You may have done this without there being a formal ‘role’ or job description.  Its time to identify yourself as a facilitator.  Look out for opportunities to facilitate and offer your time.  Maybe there is an event coming up or a complex meeting?  Maybe there is a group that seems to be going round in circles?  You can volunteer to facilitate by saying “I notice….I wondered if some independant facilitation might be useful? I am expanding my facilitation experience, how might we work together on this?



If you are considering facilitation as a next career step, you may have worked with some brilliant facilitators already.  If not look for facilitators on LinkedIn, join social media groups for facilitators and research consultancies, lots have associates details on thier websites.  When you have made contact, request a 1:1 -be brave! Many people are keen to share thier experience, share your ideas and enthusiasm too.  If you connect with the person, offer to co-facilitate, request to shadow or think of you when opportunities come up.  



You might be ready to try out some of your facilitation ideas with a group. A group of friends, colleagues or family might feel the right group to practice with or you can set up a free event on social media or eventbrite, to be held in person or online. Experiment with one idea at a time, simplicy is key key, and use the experiements as learning opportunities for you and the participants.  Remember to communicate with the group before and afterwards to set expectations and to share learning.  Doing this ‘out loud’ by writing a blog post or sharing online can be a great way to build interest in your work and reputation.



Everyone knows someone.  The aim of networking is not to sell or push your work, but to find ways to help others and share your enthusiasm for your work.  There are many formal free and paid for networking groups, social media groups, in person events and training that might be great places to network. Any place where groups of people come together can be great spaces to meet others, even the school gates! Look out for ways you can support others you meet, by connecting them with people you know, attending thier events, offering to share thier work online and commenting on social media posts.  


A final thought is to keep sharing your ideas and work, over time your specialism, and the things you care about will become clear, practicing saying, Hi, Im a facilitator!  -really helps!

Do these four steps resonate? Have you got any others to add? We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch through or Tweet us at @IAFEnglandWales