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Facilitation: How do you support learners in acquiring knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform on the job? (AOE 1. Performance Improvement; Sub section 1.7. Facilitation Methods)

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Show Notes

AOE 1. Performance Improvement; Sub section 1.7. Facilitation Methods

Learning Objectives for Facilitation Methods:
  • Explain the differences between training facilitation and process facilitation
  • Describe how a facilitator may assist in team development
  • List the key skills associated with facilitation
  • Summarize several tools that facilitators use to move teams from startup to productivity
  • List several questioning techniques that facilitators use to stimulate discussions
  • List the steps in an effective meeting process
  • Explain the purpose of process mapping
  • Describe process improvement methods
  • Discuss one reason that teams often have difficulty dealing with a problem
  • List several decision-making methods
  • Describe the goal and process of the nominal group techniques as a facilitation tool
Facile: translated from French: (adjective) easy, simple, quick, effortless, light
A facilitator is a guide for a group; and facilitation has many meanings we’ll get into for AOE 1.7 on this episode.
Training vs. Process Facilitation — what are the differences between these 2 ways to facilitate?
Training Facilitation
  • Customer is the learner of knowledge & skills
  • The practitioner/facilitator is flexible, supports learners to ensure training effective & it improves performance
  • Design & objectives are usually predetermined
  • Note: when facilitating process discussions you will want to define a quantitative goal to measure impact/results | 
Process Facilitation
  • Customer is the performer/employee/team member in the organization and needs to learn a process
  • The practitioner/facilitator supports processes and teams by coaching performers/employees, selecting & integrating tools for learning & coordinating how the improvement will be developed
  • Engage the customers in creating the design and objectives to produce results
  • Relates to the tasks needed to lead a productive & impartial meeting e.g. decision-making or problem solving
Facilitators are responsible for the team/group they are working with and the organization they are supporting by:
  • Coaching the team in processes, roles, procedures, policies & goals
  • Attending team meetings as-needed to provide feedback to the team leader & members
  • Acting as a consultant to the team leader
  • Monitoring team dynamics, diagnosing problems, and recommending appropriate solutions
  • Promoting team building and facilitating team development
Three skills needed to successfully manage a team:
  1. How to handle dysfunctional team members
  2. How to use tools that facilitate team development
  3. How to use storytelling
BONUS: Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) 
The TKI, outlines the basic dimensions of behavior as how others in the group want to respond to conflict situation, here are a few of the dysfunctional team members you might encounter:
  • Competing
  • Accommodating
  • Avoiding
  • Collaborating
  • Compromising
Tools for Facilitation
  • Listening
  • Agendas 
  • Opening discussions
  • Shared framework of understanding
  • Summarizing 
  • Brainstorming
  • Building agreement 
  • Consensus building 
  • Gaining closure 
Storytelling is an effective way to communicate and present information as it helps to capture others attention, establish a rapport, build credibility, bring a team closer together, and deliver a message others will remember. 

Questioning Techniques help to stimulate discussion, check for understanding, keep participants of the meeting involved, gain consensus for ideas, and allows for open thinking to brainstorm or offer potential solutions. More about this to come in AOE 3. Training Delivery.

Meeting Management
  • Adopt ground rules 
  • Identify issues 
  • Record issues 
  • Prioritize issues 
  • Get agreement 
  • Share information 
  • Brainstorm solutions  
  • Refine options
  • Define points of agreement 
  • Perform a reality check 
  • Confirm agreement 
Process Improvement Methodologies - often is from a result of a gap analysis identifying the components of the process that needs attention (as shared in Ep. 1.3.). To conduct a process-level gap analysis, you will need to design and recommend process improvement solutions with these four basic components:
  1. Inputs
  2. Process controls
  3. Outputs
  4. Resources
Suggested ways to get process improvement going when facilitating include:
  • Problem-solving or process improvement models
  • Flowcharts
  • Process control systems
  • Collection, Organization, and reporting of data and information
  • Process mapping: steps involved in establishing ___ within a company; e.g. customer profile questions, applications for items, sample loan files, print ads, etc. 
Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) Model is a standard process improvement model; READ: How to Apply the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Model to Improve Your Business by Lucidchart
Also known as the Deming Cycle or PDSA Cycle

Decision-Making Methods & Processes — you need an organized process to solve problems so a good facilitator will ensure the team is following a specific & agreed-upon process for making a decision, like this problem solving model:
  1. Define the problem
  2. Research and analyze the problem
  3. Establish a checklist of criteria for use in evaluating possible solutions
  4. List all possible alternatives
  5. Select the best alternative and discuss how to implement it
  6. Monitor implementation and modify it if required
In Search of Solutions (Quinlivan-Hall & Renner, 1990), offers the following guidelines for creating the appropriate question to clearly define a problem:
  • How questions suggest a process
  • Where questions indicate locations
  • Who questions identify the people involved
  • When questions point to time
  • What questions sort process and content
BONUS READ: 7 steps of the Decision Making Process

Group Dynamics, Observations, and Interventions
Group dynamics focuses on the nature of groups, specifically urges to belong or to identify may impact attitudes and influence the group to become bonded. To observe a group, it will be critical for the facilitator to use all three types* of listening: 
  1. Passive 
  2. Attentive 
  3. Active 
*There seem to be many more types of listening — these are just not identified in this section of  the ATD Learning System for the CPLP exam. 

Nominal Group Technique — helps with decision-making, like I shared in Episode 1.5, this exercise generates many ideas and lets the group evaluate each of these in a round robin approach to classify, rank, and identify critical suggestions of importance.

Books mentioned in episode 1.7.:
Passive listening music clip song was The Vendetta featuring Apoxode by Stefan Kartenberg from http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/58628 with a Creative Commons license.

What is Learn/Perform Mixtape?

The Learn/Perform Mixtape is a podcast of my study notes as I prepare for the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). More at: https://techknowtools.com/learnperform-mixtape/