Why I Hate Being Called A Facilitator

I must confess, there are times when I cringe when someone calls me a “facilitator.” There aren’t any bad intentions associated with the role, of course. Though, there’s something about the word that conjures up an image of a rather stiff individual with perhaps a sharpie pen in hand, barking out the next set of instructions and dutifully passing out the next set of handouts. Yeesh! More of a proctor administering an exam than a dynamic professional who is helping a team soar to great heights. Perhaps you have a similar perception or perhaps I’m nit-picking. The word “facilitate” is another story. The act of making a process or action easy or easier – or as I like to think of it, to put a group or team in a better position to score or win. When I think in those terms, I start thinking of the hockey great Wayne Gretzky or basketball star Magic Johnson, both of whom often made the assist as spectacular as the score. To put someone in a position or to set them up to score is noble work. Great facilitation does just that, it puts people and teams in a winning position. I love that about my work, so, I guess it’s not the word “facilitator” that bothers me, but rather the lack of understanding about what goes into great facilitation – the planning, the design and preparation. Recently, I was asked by Andy Reid of The Genius Box  to be part of his podcast to discuss the dark arts of great facilitation in rich detail. At some point in business, we are all called upon to be a facilitator whether it’s a formal workshop or simply a meeting at the office.  Click here and have a listen to what makes for great facilitation and what you should be looking for in a facilitator.