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Group Facilitation

Air Different Perspectives

Group FacilitationI use my facilitation skills to assist groups in approaching contentious public and private issues. Unlike a traditional mediation session involving two or three parties, the goal of a group facilitation is not to settle a disputed right or claim, but to air different perspectives in a non-threatening environment to allow an understanding of other positions and interests. Sometimes a consensus is reached on one or more basic facts. Other times, success is just the start of a productive dialogue.

Reach a Consensus

In one well-known example of a challenging facilitation, participants representing right-to-life groups met with women’s right-to-choose advocates and an independent facilitator. The facilitator moderated and focused a discussion of each side’s issues with the other side’s actions concerning an abortion clinic. Neither group expected to shift the underlying values of the other, but a surprising thing happened. They reached consensus on the need to discourage unwanted pregnancies in the community and discussed ways to work together toward that end.

Experience Counts

As a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), I have assisted groups in California and New York in working through issues in both corporate, nonprofit, and community settings. Most recently, I facilitated a meeting of local residents and a commercial solar developer after the Planning Commission had approved a commercial solar project. The process eventually resulted in a review and reversal of the Planning Commission Decision by the County Board of Supervisors. If your group or community is troubled by a seemingly intractable issue, and would like to build a consensus, you can contact my office to set up a complimentary session to discuss if a facilitation could be useful.