A World Class Facilitator is at the Heart of being a Professional Consultant and Trainer Part 5

Facilitation is not managing

It is not                  

  • Delegating or controlling other
  • Solving other people’s problems and making decisions for them
  • An ego trip

It is:                    

  • Drawing fully on expertise, knowledge, experience of individuals and teams
  • Using group processes to maximise participation & productivity
  • Managing through people instead of managing people
  • Coaching & enabling others to act efficiently and productively, not directing

Facilitation should build on key principles of an adult learning

Adults retain        10% of what they read

                              30 % of what they read and hear

                              50% of what they hear and see

                              I.e. 90% of what they do/experience themselves!

Key points to remember when facilitating adults are:

  • Learning is a process that lasts throughout a life
  • The learner must be “active “in the learning experience: adults learn by doing
  • The learner is responsible for his/her own learning
  • The learning process is an emotional as well as an intellectual process
  • Problems and examples should be relevant to the learners
  • Adults relate their learning to what they already know
  • Adults work best in an informal environment
  • Variety stimulates
  • Learning flourishes in a win-win, non-judgemental environment
  • The facilitators responsibility is to facilitate; the participant’s is to learn

Childhood learning is oriented towards a teacher imparting knowledge to students. Adult learning is a process of a person (the facilitator) providing opportunities for another person (the learner) to acquire knowledge, skill and/or awareness. Adults are used to exercising choice. They demand more choice in the matter of what they will believe, adopt & apply.

The human element (you) is the most critical “ingredient” for success


  1. An ability to demonstrate empathy and accept differences
  2. Can communicate ideas simply (congruence)
  3. She/he is also flexible enough to deal with another person at their pace.
  4. Ongoing, improves own personal development
  5. Strives to generate enrichment rather than extract nourishment
  6. Focuses on giving trainees opportunities to grow as individuals


Understands/believes the material. Offers practical examples of theories. Uses effective presentation and communication skills (relaxed body language, rehearsed preparation, group control). Manages the process to best effect. Has solid conceptual knowledge of facilitating – i.e. theories, techniques, and group dynamics, learning styles. Is professional in appearance and manner.

Martin Gummery

Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd