Being a World Class Facilitator is at the Heart of being a Professional Consultant and Trainer- Part 1

Running development workshops requires skills that as a participant are not always obvious.  Workshops facilitated very well are made to look easy, which is a conscious tactic to ensure the participants have the maximum opportunity to learn and develop.

In this series of blogs I’m going to share learning and experiences I have compiled from years of facilitating, running workshops and coaching potential facilitators and consultants as well as designing World Class development programmes for World Class companies.

True facilitation is a way of “being” and is not something that is switched on and off at will. The best facilitators are people who have a genuine belief in individuals being an asset in a business that can be tapped into and released to make real business improvements.

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.

Also, good facilitators understand that a workshop is NOT a series of tasks or lectures, but a “system”, with clear purpose, outcomes, inputs and outputs and many influencing factors. When that is understood then a good facilitator owns and manages that “system” and that is the method to achieve real development.

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


Well Organised

  • Clear communication – invitations, pre work
  • Great administration – materials, room layout, pens, video
  • Starts and finishes on time

Ruthlessly committed to “participants” learning

  • Focuses on participant, not on “looking good” as a facilitator
  • Builds relationship with trainees and whole group
  • Sensitive to trainees’ needs – flexible and responsive
  • Listens, seeks clarification, checks understanding
  • Listens with: head (content), eyes (feelings), heart (Commitment)
  • Works with each participant to achieve success
  • ‘Team player’ – supports other facilitators in meeting group needs

Leads the Workshop (the Workshop is a system)

  • Is a tour guide
  • Clear and consistent on the workshop process
  • Lives the content
  • Shows clear sense of purpose and outcome
  • Controls the sessions
  • Enthusiastic, energetic
  • Committed to the content/outcomes

Promotes Self-Learning

  • Does not automatically offer solutions and answers
  • Reflects questions back to the group
  • Encourages group discussion and participation
  • Uses open, closed, rhetorical, non-rhetorical technical/non-technical questions
  • Asks for examples to illustrate the point
  • Thanks trainees for their contribution
  • Involves everybody
  • Maintains posture, eye-contact
  • Uses silence as a tool
  • Corrects technically incorrect statements and answers

Don’t forget to get on touch with us for more details or a friendly chat about what we do and how we do it.

Martin Gummery, Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd

Tel: 01905 425209