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Facilitating with Ease!, 4th Edition by Ingrid Bens

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Chapter OneUnderstanding FacilitationThe logo depicting “Facilitation,” where three people are arranged in a circle.

If you look up the word facilitator in the dictionary, you'll see it described as someone who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to achieve these objectives without taking a particular position in the discussion.

This role basically did not exist until the middle of the last century, when theorists in the emerging field of behavioral science identified the need for a leadership style that contributed structure to complex group interactions instead of direction and answers.

The work of these behavioral pioneers led to the emergence of a new and important role in which the person who manages the meeting no longer participates in the discussion or tries to influence the outcome. Instead, he or she stays out of all conversations in order to focus on how the meeting is being run. Instead of offering opinions, this person provides participants with structure and tools. Instead of promoting a point of view, he or she manages participation to ensure that everyone is heard. Instead of making decisions and giving orders, he or she supports the participants in identifying their own goals and developing their own action plans.

What Is Facilitation?

Facilitation is a leadership role in which the decision-making power resides in the members. This frees the facilitator to focus on creating a climate of collaboration ...

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