A World Class Facilitator is at the Heart of being a Professional Consultant and Trainer Part 7

Good facilitators understand that Knowledge alone is NOT king, but combining knowledge with skill and having the right attitude is the correct combination that raises one’s capability to achieve greater things.

So, in this this month’s blog, let’s have a look at more of the basics……

It is so important to understand that people think and learn differently. All too often we expect a group of people to pick up on ideas in the same way and in the same time, so let’s remind ourselves of the four classic learning styles, and importantly find ways of adjusting our style to different approaches.





Activists involve themselves fully and without bias in new experiences.  They enjoy the here and now and are happy to be dominated by immediate experiences.  They are open minded, not sceptical; and this tends to make them excited about anything new.  Their philosophy is: “I’ll try anything once.”  They tend to act first and consider the consequences afterwards.  Their days are filled with activity.  They tackle problems by brainstorming.  As soon as the excitement form one activity has died down they are busy looking for the next.  They tend to thrive on the challenge of new experiences but are bored with implementation and longer term consolidation.  They are gregarious people, constantly involving themselves with others but, in doing so, they seek to centre all activities on themselves.


Reflectors like to stand back to ponder experiences and observe them from many different perspectives.  They collect data, both first hand and from others and prefer to think about it thoroughly before coming to any conclusion.  The thorough collection and analysis of data about experiences and events is what counts, so they tend to postpone reaching definitive conclusions for as long as possible.  Their philosophy is to be cautious.  They are thoughtful people who like to consider all possible angles and implications before making a move.  They prefer to take a back seat in meetings and discussions.  They enjoy observing other people in action.  They listen to others and get the drift of the discussion before making their own points.  They tend to adopt a low profile and have a slightly distant, tolerant, unruffled air about them.  When they act it is part of a wide picture which includes the past as well as the present and others’ observations as well as their own.


Theorists adapt and integrate observations into complex but logically sound theories.  They think problems through in a vertical, step-by-step logical way.  They assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories.  They tend to be perfectionists who won’t rest easy until things are tidy and fir into a rational scheme.  They like to analyse and synthesize.  They are keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and systems thinking.  Their philosophy prizes rationality and logic.  “If it’s logical, it’s good”.  Questions they frequently ask are: “Does it make sense?” “How does this fit with that?”  “What are the basic assumptions?”  They tend to be detaches, analytical and dedicated to rational objectivity rather than anything subjective or ambiguous.  Their approach to a problem is consistently logical.  This is their ‘mental set’ and they rigidly reject anything that doesn’t fit with it.  They prefer to maximize certainty and feel uncomfortable with subjective judgements, lateral thinking and anything flippant.


Pragmatists are keen on trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work in practice.  They positively search out new ideas and take the first opportunity to experiment with applications.  They are the sort of people who return from management courses brimming with new ideas that they want to try out in practice.  They like to get on with things and act quickly and confidently on ideas that attract them.  They tend to be impatient with ruminating and open-ended discussions.  They are essentially practical, down to earth people who like making practical decisions and solving problems.  They respond to problems and opportunities ‘as a challenge’.  Their philosophy is: ‘There is always a better way’ and ‘if it works, it’s good’.              

 Martin Gummery

Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd

Tel: 01905 425209

Email: headoffice@newleafinter.co.uk

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