Posted On May 24, 2016

auditorium facilitator

Of all the factors that can influence the outcome of a learning initiative, none is more critical than the facilitator.

A quality program can be seriously hoisted or significantly hindered depending on the person out the front delivering the training.

Here are 5 key abilities to look out for in a great facilitator.

1: Engage the learner

Successful training is directly correlated to how well a facilitator has been able to engage the learner in the learning process.

We can do this in two ways – making the subject matter relevant and demonstrating personal engagement with the content. This is achieved through asking questions to evoke participation and understand the learner’s perspective and frame of reference, telling stories and delivering key messages with energy and enthusiasm.

Asking learners questions about their expectations and perspective will enable the facilitator to personalise the learning experience.

2: Be a guide that “asks rather than tells”

Great facilitators take learners on a journey and use good questioning to enable them to arrive at a conclusion about the topic or issue rather than telling them what they need to know. This engages learners with the topic and makes the learning relevant to their situation.

This skill requires the facilitator to take on a coaching approach which encourages, generates and steers discussions towards a learning outcome rather than dictating outcomes.

3: Adaptable delivery style

A successful facilitator has the ability to adapt to changing situations, and to get discussions back on track.

From conversations going off track to different learning styles, perspectives and backgrounds, a facilitator should be highly flexible in both their style of facilitation and their approach to achieving learning outcomes, following key agenda items.

4: Create ideal conditions for learning

Knowingly or not, great facilitators will apply key adult learning principles in their delivery approach. This, in turn, creates an ideal environment for learners to engage with the learning.

Adults like to know how the learning will benefit them in some way. As a facilitator, being clear on key learning goals will help learners relate training content to their personal needs. In addition, adults want to be respected and given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning and relate it to their own personal experiences. Allowing learners to share their personal experiences and apply learning to their own circumstances is crucial to a positive learning outcome.

5: Perceptive of group dynamics

We’ve all been there, sitting in a meeting or a training session where tensions start to rise due to a difference of opinion, conflicting priorities or unspoken underlying motivations of the learners. All the participants turn to the facilitator to resolve the issue or address the ‘elephant in the room”.

A great facilitator will have the ability to roll with these situations, deflect tensions by acknowledging everyone’s unique and personal perspectives, while also having confidence to respectfully reinforce facts and key learnings.

Even where there isn’t tension, there is usually always the presence of learners with diverse styles, views and communication styles. A great facilitator will balance the dynamics between these individuals ensuring all learners are given a voice.

If you have a need for a top notch facilitator, MCI Solutions can help. Please contact 1300 768 550 or email for more details.