What is a facilitator

It’s a question that always comes up ” Max, what exactly does a facilitator do?”  I say “Think of me as a crossing guard. The person dressed in a bright colored life jacket holding a stop and go sign in his / her hand. ” ( I am not a school crossing guard, I rarely work with kids)My clients are at point A and want to get to point B.  The way across is busy, filled with traffic. Each time they try to cross,  some group members dart to B, others lose temper and decide not to cross, and some lose interest in crossing.  The result, the group does not receive the benefit of getting to B.

A crossing guard uses her signs, stops the traffic, tells the group when it’s safe to cross and ensures that all of the group reaches point B, more or less at the same time.  Some group members may stop in the middle of the road to tie shoelaces or are afraid to cross.  The guard encourages these persons to stay with the group, helps the group wait on stragglers, and eliminates distractions so that the group can move forward together.

Simply stated: A facilitator gets a group from Point A to Point B, uses methods and techniques to remove obstacles and distractions that prevent groups from having effective outcomes.

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