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Cautions: Misconceptions about Facilitation
1. New Name for Training

Facilitation is not the same as training. When we work with groups as trainers, information is shared with the group. When we work with groups as facilitators, tools and techniques are used to help members of a group share their expertise and insights and to collectively arrive at decisions they can uphold, own and implement.

2. Participation is easier

Facilitation is not a breeze. It does not come easy. Inviting broad participation in group processes comes with the risk of creating unnecessary frustrations, especially where expectations are not met. Facilitation requires a deep appreciation and understanding that clear structures, guidelines and methods help participation work. Almost paradoxically, facilitation is all about allowing creativity and innovation to surface within the bounds of participatory methods and processes and the limitations of formal structures of groups and organizations.

3. Lost in the whirlwind

Facilitation is not getting lost in a whirlwind of ideas. Releasing individual and collective energies of a group can be dangerous, especially if the facilitator gets sucked into the group vortex of energy. TOP facilitation directs energy into a productive exchange. Practical and doable resolutions are arrived at by the group.

4. Latest buzz word

Facilitation is not a new buzzword for simply asking questions, generating individual answers, or even assigning small group work. TOP facilitation structures interactions between and among members of a group. Group output is then clearly a product of the joint efforts of the group, and the group can take initiative on and responsability for the plans they create.

5. Methods are magic

Finally, facilitation is not a magic bag of tricks, gimmicks and surprises that can be pulled on a group. Bringing a group together to collectively address a situation, problem or issue means the group must and will work towards the solutions. Facilitation enables the group to work towards a resolution of the issue at hand. The methods employed may be fun and enjoyable - but they are not tricks and gimmicks.


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