“A facilitator is a person who helps a group of people to work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives, during meetings or discussions. In doing so, the facilitator remains “neutral”, meaning he/she does not take a particular position in the discussion. Some facilitator tools will try to assist the group in achieving a consensus on any disagreements that preexist or emerge in the meeting so that it has a solid basis for future action. (1)

>International Association of Facilitators Core Competencies:

  • Create Collaborative Client Relationships
  • Plan Appropriate Group Processes
  • Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment
  • Guide Group to  Appropriate and Useful Outcomes
  • Build and Maintain Professional Knowledge
  • Model Positive Professional Attitude

>A Comparison of Mediation and Facilitation (full article) (2) Mediation is a type of facilitation for resolving disputes between opposed parties.

Area Mediation Facilitation
Goals Agreement Goals of the group
Process Set by mediator Set by group
Role Neutral – fairly standard Group effectiveness – may vary widely
Format Joint sessions Group meeting
Caucus Small group work
Idea Generation Part of mediation process Structured techniques
Ground Rules Set by mediator Agreed to by group
Agenda Set by mediator Set by group
Identifying Participants Disputants Stakeholders
Relatively Obvious Major pre-facilitation issue
Method Of Decision Making Interest-based negotiation Group decides, facilitator leads
Prior Contact With Participants Mediator style Necessary

The four part nonviolent communication process by Marshall Rosenberg can be used as a guide for sequential staging of a conflict resolution meeting:

>Nonviolent Communication Training – Free Resources

>Developing Facilitation Skills

>Facilitator Tool Kit

>Facilitator Skills

>Facilitator (in business)

>Facilitation Resources (IAF)

>Facilitation Methods (IAF)

>IAF Knowledge Center

>IAF Youtube Channel

>Conflict Resolution Network Free Resources

Facilitation First Resources:

>Resources | Successful Meetings

>Research & White Papers | Northstar Meetings Group

>IdeaXChange | MeetingsNet

>Watch Consensus Decision-Making Training Online | Vimeo On Demand on Vimeo

Facilitation Online Courses – Udemy

(1) Bens, viIngrid (2012). Facilitating with ease! Core skills for facilitators, team leaders and members, managers, consultants, and trainers. San Francisco: Wiley.

(2) Preventing conflict through facilitation: A comparison of mediation and facilitation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://collaborateatwork.com/resources/facilitation.php