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Facilitating with Ease!, 4th Edition by Ingrid Bens

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Chapter FourWho Can FacilitateThe logo depicting “Facilitation,” where three people are arranged in a circle.

Once the need for facilitation has been identified, there's often confusion about who should take on the role. Should it be an internal staff member, a paid outsider, or the leader of the group?

When to Use an Internal Facilitator

In many organizations, facilitators are considered such an important resource as to warrant the development of a full-time, in-house cadre. These are paid organization development consultants who are available to help any team needing assistance.

Some organizations that are unable to maintain full-time facilitators maintain a group of part-time volunteer facilitators. These are employees who are interested in developing their group process expertise and who voluntarily take on facilitation assignments in other parts of their organization.

Whether they're full-time professionals or part of a volunteer group, internal facilitators enjoy several advantages over external ones, such as:

  • they understand the organization's history and culture
  • they have a stake in the health and success of the organization
  • they're on hand and easy to access
  • they're on salary, so are less costly than hiring outsiders
  • they're aware of the resources available within the organization
  • they can follow the outcomes of their work and ensure continuity

Despite the many benefits of using internal facilitators, there are also some drawbacks, such as:

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