Model Humility, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness
As a facilitator, it is not your job to teach others how to be Humble, Empathetic, Compassionate and Kind; however, it is your job to embody those virtues as much as possible while facilitating the course. Facilitators should be comfortable acting as ‘checks’ upon the participants and each other and suggesting ways of handling situations in as HECK-like manner as possible.
Prepare ahead of time
Please watch the TED talks and review the Participant Guide each week before the session so that you have a good understanding of the content and can prepare for the discussions. What is the session saying to you? What will it say to the individual participants in the group? Where might your group get bogged down or off track?
Facilitate, don’t teach or preach
The learning in this course comes from introspection and personal discovery. Every group and every participant will get something different out of every session; that is both intentional and essential. Fight the urge to help the participants to come to the same understanding that you have and discourage participants from ‘teaching’ as well. If there is an important point that you believe is being missed, form your thoughts into a question for the group, rather than a statement of fact.
Permit dialogue but not debate
In the Participant’s Guide there is an attachment that differentiates between discussion and debate. Please review thoroughly during the first session, and feel free to reference it again as necessary.
Be respectful of people’s time and schedules
A key task of the leader is to assure that the sessions start on time and finish on time. If people arrive late – and accept that they will – encourage them to integrate themselves into the session with as little disruption as possible. Don’t hold the group up waiting for one or two individuals, and don’t shame those that were unable to get there on time.
Learn from your group
One of the great benefits to being a facilitator is the opportunity to be surprised by the group. Often you will think you know how a presentation will be received or how a discussion is going to go, and something else happens instead. Embrace surprises and be open to seeing things in a different light.
Be a good teammate with your facilitation partner
Don’t simply be co-facilitators; be facilitation partners. Implicit with this is an honesty about with what responsibilities each partner is comfortable, and what they are not. Be clear about your own strengths and needs, and be aware of your partner’s strengths and needs. Act as a team.
Value each of your participants
Different people are at different points along their own path to HECK. The path is steeper in some places and the view better from others. Meet people where they are and encourage them to continue the journey. The good news is that you are all committed to moving toward the same destination.
Share of yourself
An important part of a successful course is the building of trust and allowing vulnerability. As a facilitator, you are not expected to keep a distance; instead you are encouraged to share your own stories and assume the same risks – and share of the same rewards – as the participants.
Avoid group therapy
There’s a fine line between being supportive and offering advice; but it’s a line we must be careful not to cross. Please guide the group away from trying to offer advice to each other toward simply being with each other and appreciating each other.
Praise publicly, correct privately
Very often you will find members of your group making a great observation or sharing a valuable story. You owe it to them to thank them on behalf of the group, publicly in front of the group. Very occasionally you will find members of your group straying from the path and not displaying HECK-like behavior. You owe it to them to gently alert them to this on behalf of the group, privately away from the group.
Managing a mixed group of introverts and extroverts
We’ve all had experiences in groups where some individuals feel compelled to control the conversation; and others where it is difficult to get anyone to speak. In truth, every group discussion is going to be somewhat dominated by some and not by others. Your job as facilitator is not to assure that every person gets an equal amount of time to speak, but that everyone gets an adequate opportunity to be heard. The best way to overcome an individual who is monopolizing the conversation is to interrupt to ask if anyone else has a different perspective. Don’t discount the monopolizer’s statements, instead add to them with comments from others.