Ingrid Bens' Facilitating With Ease: A Comprehensive Resource for Facilitators, Consultants, and Trainers
Facilitating With Ease: A Review of Ingrid Bens' Book
Have you ever been in a meeting that was boring, unproductive, or frustrating? Have you ever wondered how to make your meetings more engaging, efficient, and satisfying? Have you ever wanted to learn how to facilitate group discussions, decisions, and actions in a way that is respectful, collaborative, and effective?
Facilitating With Ease Ingrid Bens 39.pdf
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be interested in reading Facilitating with Ease!, a book by Ingrid Bens, a renowned consultant and trainer in the field of facilitation. In this book, Bens shares her insights and expertise on how to develop and apply core skills for facilitators, team leaders, and members, managers, consultants, and trainers. Whether you are new to facilitation or want to enhance your existing skills, this book will provide you with practical guidance, techniques, and tools that you can use in various settings and situations.
In this article, I will give you an overview of the main topics covered in the book, as well as some of the benefits of reading it. I will also share some of my personal reflections and opinions on the book, as well as some questions that you might have after reading it. By the end of this article, I hope that you will have a better understanding of what facilitation is, why it is important, and how you can improve your facilitation skills.
Core Skills for Facilitators
Planning Effective Meetings
One of the most common tasks that facilitators do is planning and conducting meetings. Meetings are essential for communication, collaboration, and coordination among groups of people. However, not all meetings are created equal. Some meetings are well-planned and well-run, while others are poorly-planned and poorly-run. The difference between a good meeting and a bad meeting often depends on the quality of the facilitation.
In this section of the book, Bens explains how to plan effective meetings that meet the needs and expectations of the participants. She outlines three key steps that facilitators should follow: clarifying the purpose and objectives of the meeting, designing a meeting agenda that is appropriate and realistic, and preparing materials and logistics for the meeting. She also provides some useful tips and checklists for each step.
For example, Bens suggests that facilitators should ask themselves and the participants these questions before planning a meeting:
Why are we having this meeting?
What do we want to accomplish by the end of this meeting?
Who needs to be involved in this meeting?
How much time do we have for this meeting?
What are the best methods or formats for this meeting?
By answering these questions, facilitators can ensure that they have a clear and shared understanding of the purpose and objectives of the meeting. They can also avoid unnecessary or irrelevant meetings that waste time and resources.
Leading Productive Discussions
Another core skill that facilitators need is leading productive discussions among groups of people. Discussions are essential for sharing information, exchanging ideas, exploring options, resolving issues, and building relationships. However, not all discussions are productive or positive. Some discussions are constructive and respectful, while others are destructive and disrespectful. The difference between a good discussion and a bad discussion often depends on the quality of the facilitation.
In this section of the book, Bens explains how to lead productive discussions that foster dialogue and participation among group members. She outlines three key elements that facilitators should consider: establishing ground rules and expectations for the discussion, using different types of questions to stimulate dialogue, and managing group dynamics and dealing with difficult situations. She also provides some useful examples and techniques for each element.
For example, Bens suggests that facilitators should establish ground rules and expectations for the discussion at the beginning of the meeting or session. Ground rules are basic guidelines or norms that help create a safe and respectful environment for the discussion. Expectations are specific outcomes or deliverables that the group wants to achieve by the end of the discussion. By establishing ground rules and expectations, facilitators can help set the tone and direction for the discussion. They can also prevent or reduce potential conflicts or misunderstandings among group members.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
A third core skill that facilitators need is making decisions and solving problems with groups of people. Decisions and problems are inevitable in any group or organization. They can be simple or complex, routine or novel, individual or collective. However they arise, they need to be addressed effectively and efficiently by the group. The quality of the decisions and solutions often depends on the quality of the facilitation.
: choosing appropriate decision-making methods for different situations, facilitating brainstorming, prioritizing, and evaluating ideas, and helping groups reach consensus and commitment. She also provides some useful tips and tools for each step.
For example, Bens suggests that facilitators should choose decision-making methods that match the level of involvement and agreement that the group needs. She identifies four common decision-making methods: authority decision, consultative decision, majority vote, and consensus decision. She explains the advantages and disadvantages of each method, as well as the criteria and conditions for using them. By choosing the right decision-making method, facilitators can help groups make decisions that are appropriate and acceptable for their situation.
Advanced Techniques for Facilitators
Designing and Delivering Training Sessions
A fourth skill that facilitators may need is designing and delivering training sessions for groups of people. Training sessions are educational or developmental activities that help groups learn new knowledge, skills, or attitudes. They can be formal or informal, short or long, online or offline. However they are delivered, they need to be engaging and effective for the learners. The quality of the training sessions often depends on the quality of the facilitation.
In this section of the book, Bens explains how to design and deliver training sessions that are engaging and effective for groups. She outlines three key steps that facilitators should follow: conducting a training needs assessment and setting learning objectives, designing a training session that is appropriate and realistic, and delivering a training session that is interactive and learner-centered. She also provides some useful examples and techniques for each step.
For example, Bens suggests that facilitators should conduct a training needs assessment before designing a training session. A training needs assessment is a process of identifying the gap between the current and desired performance of a group or individual. It helps answer questions such as: What do they need to learn? Why do they need to learn it? How do they prefer to learn it? By conducting a training needs assessment, facilitators can ensure that they design a training session that is relevant and useful for the learners.
Facilitating Change and Innovation
A fifth skill that facilitators may need is facilitating change and innovation with groups of people. Change and innovation are processes of creating or adopting new ways of doing things in response to internal or external factors. They can be planned or unplanned, incremental or radical, positive or negative. However they occur, they need to be managed effectively and efficiently by the group. The quality of the change and innovation processes often depends on the quality of the facilitation.
In this section of the book, Bens explains how to facilitate change and innovation processes with groups using various models and tools. She outlines three key steps that facilitators should follow: assessing the readiness and resistance of a group for change or innovation, facilitating change or innovation processes using various models and tools, and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity in a group. She also provides some useful examples and techniques for each step.
For example, Bens suggests that facilitators should assess the readiness and resistance of a group for change or innovation before facilitating any change or innovation process. Readiness is the degree to which a group is willing and able to change or innovate. Resistance is the degree to which a group is unwilling or unable to change or innovate. They are influenced by factors such as motivation, awareness, skills, resources, culture, etc. By assessing the readiness and resistance of a group, facilitators can determine the best approach and strategy for facilitating change or innovation.
Developing Facilitative Leadership Skills
A sixth skill that facilitators may need is developing facilitative leadership skills for themselves and others. Facilitative leadership is a style of leadership that emphasizes collaboration, participation, empowerment, and learning among groups of people. It is based on the assumption that everyone has something valuable to contribute to the group's success. It is also based on the belief that everyone can develop their own leadership potential through feedback and reflection. The quality of the facilitative leadership often depends on the quality of the facilitation.
and process roles as a facilitator, developing trust and rapport with a group, and enhancing one's own facilitation skills through feedback and reflection. She also provides some useful examples and techniques for each element.
For example, Bens suggests that facilitators should balance task and process roles as a facilitator. Task roles are related to the content or outcome of the group's work, such as providing information, clarifying objectives, summarizing results, etc. Process roles are related to the way the group works together, such as setting ground rules, asking questions, managing conflicts, etc. By balancing task and process roles, facilitators can help groups achieve their goals while maintaining positive relationships.
In conclusion, Facilitating with Ease! is a comprehensive and practical guide for anyone who wants to learn or improve their facilitation skills. The book covers six core skills and three advanced techniques for facilitators, as well as some useful tips and tools for each skill and technique. The book is written in a clear and engaging style, with plenty of examples and exercises to illustrate the concepts and practices. The book is also accompanied by a CD-ROM that contains additional resources and materials for facilitators.
I found the book to be very helpful and informative for my own development as a facilitator. I learned a lot of new ideas and techniques that I can apply in my own work and personal situations. I also appreciated the author's experience and expertise in the field of facilitation, as well as her passion and enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge and wisdom with others. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in facilitation or wants to enhance their facilitation skills.
If you are curious about facilitation or want to learn more about it, here are some questions that you might have after reading this book:
What are some common challenges or pitfalls for facilitators?
Some common challenges or pitfalls for facilitators are:
Lack of preparation or planning for a meeting or session
Lack of clarity or agreement on the purpose or objectives of a meeting or session
Lack of participation or engagement from the group members
Lack of diversity or inclusion in the group composition or dynamics
Lack of structure or direction in the meeting or session process
Lack of feedback or evaluation on the meeting or session results
To avoid or overcome these challenges or pitfalls, facilitators should follow the steps and techniques outlined in the book, as well as seek feedback and support from other facilitators or experts.
How can facilitators deal with conflict or disagreement in a group?
Conflict or disagreement in a group is inevitable and sometimes necessary for learning and growth. However, if not handled well, it can also lead to negative outcomes such as resentment, hostility, or withdrawal. To deal with conflict or disagreement in a group, facilitators should:
Acknowledge and validate the different perspectives and emotions of the group members
Encourage respectful and constructive dialogue among the group members
Help the group identify the root causes and underlying interests of the conflict or disagreement
Help the group generate and evaluate possible solutions or alternatives that meet the needs and interests of all parties
Help the group reach consensus and commitment on a mutually acceptable solution or alternative
, probing, summarizing, etc.
How can facilitators measure the impact or effectiveness of their work?
Measuring the impact or effectiveness of facilitation work is important for learning and improvement. However, it can also be challenging and complex, as there are many factors and variables that influence the outcomes and results of facilitation work. To measure the impact or effectiveness of their work, facilitators should:
Define clear and specific criteria and indicators for success or quality of their work
Collect and analyze relevant and reliable data and evidence from various sources and methods
Compare and contrast the actual and expected results of their work
Identify and explain the strengths and weaknesses of their work
Make recommendations and action plans for future improvement or development of their work
To measure the impact or effectiveness of their work, facilitators should use some of the tools and techniques described in the book, such as surveys, interviews, observations, feedback forms, etc.
What are some best practices or tips for online or virtual facilitation?
Online or virtual facilitation is becoming more common and popular in the current context of globalization and digitalization. However, it also poses some unique challenges and opportunities for facilitators. To facilitate online or virtual meetings or sessions effectively, facilitators should:
Choose and use appropriate online platforms and tools that suit the purpose and objectives of the meeting or session
Test and troubleshoot the online platforms and tools before and during the meeting or session
Provide clear and timely instructions and guidelines for the participants on how to access and use the online platforms and tools
Create and maintain a positive and engaging online environment that fosters interaction and collaboration among the participants
Adapt and modify their facilitation skills and techniques to suit the online context and format
To facilitate online or virtual meetings or sessions effectively, facilitators should use some of the tools and techniques described in the book, as well as seek advice and support from other online or virtual facilitators or experts.
Where can facilitators find more information or support for their development?
Facilitation is a continuous learning process that requires constant practice and reflection. Facilitators can find more information or support for their development from various sources and resources, such as:
Books, articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, etc. that cover various topics and aspects of facilitation
Courses, workshops, webinars, etc. that offer formal or informal learning opportunities on facilitation
Networks, communities, associations, etc. that connect facilitators with other peers or mentors who can share their experiences and insights on facilitation
Clients, colleagues, friends, family, etc. who can provide feedback and suggestions on their facilitation work
Themselves, through self-assessment, self-reflection, self-care, etc.
and tools provided in the book, as well as explore other sources and resources that are relevant and useful for them.
I hope that this article has given you a good overview of Facilitating with Ease!, a book by Ingrid Bens that covers the core skills and advanced techniques for facilitators. I also hope that you have learned something new or useful from this article that you can apply in your own facilitation work or personal situations. If you are interested in reading the book or learning more about facilitation, I encourage you to check out the book or visit the author's website at https://www.ingridbens.com/.
Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me. I would love to hear from you and learn from your feedback. 71b2f0854b