Last week I attended a five-day course at the Roffey Park Institute entitled the Art of Facilitation. On some level I thought I had signed up to learn more skills and techniques, particularly in how to facilitate conversations about the shadow or covert processes that play out in groups. I quickly realised I had other lessons to learn.
For example, my presence as a facilitator can come from embodying a certain stillness and that more can happen for people and groups in the silences I leave, rather than in the ‘facilitating’ talk I engage in. I experienced a more profound connection with my group of co-participants by both acknowledging my separateness and letting go of my need to add value with clever interventions. I listened more deeply, noticed more about people’s body language, their voices and seemed to hold the space (or field) for the group in a way that worked for them.
These lessons were surprising, yet not surprising at the same time. They are things I have heard before, but somehow this time they landed – I was ready for the lessons and willing to take the risk to experiment with new ways of being with people as a facilitator. These lessons, therefore, were also immensely valuable. I returned to work on Monday with my sense of presence and stillness intact. This seemed to open a more profound space for my coaching clients, resulting in deeper reflections and insights from them about the topics they were working through.
Less really can mean more.