Facilitation Dimensions

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					     Facilitation Dimensions

                        April 2008

(Heron, J. 2005. The Complete Facilitators Handbook. Kogan
                      Page: London.)
     Six Dimensions of Facilitation
1.   Planning dimension – goal-oriented, ends & means aspect of
     facilitation; aims of the group: How shall the group acquire its
     objectives and its programme?
2.   Meaning dimension – cognitive aspect of facilitation; participants
     understanding what’s going on: How shall meaning be given to &
     found in experiences & actions of group members?
3.   Confronting dimension – challenge aspect of facilitation; raising
     consciousness about group’s resistances and avoidances of things it
     needs to face: How shall group’s consciousness be raised about
     these matters?
4.   Feeling dimension – sensitive aspect of facilitation; management of
     feeling & emotion within group: How shall the life of feeling &
     emotion within group be handled?
5.   Structuring dimension – formal aspect of facilitation; methods of
     learning within the group & how it sill be shaped: How can group’s
     learning be structured?
6.   Valuing dimension – integrity aspect of facilitation; creating
     supportive climate which honours personhood; climate of
     empowerment: How can such a climate of personal value & respect
     be created?
     Six Dimensions (cont.)
        They overlap & are mutually supportive of each
        All six needs to be entertained during facilitation
         to be successful
        Thus keep eye on each dimension & organize all
         over time & into well-balanced whole
        Facilitative question under each dimension has
         two-part answer:
    1.     Who will decide about issue raised by the question? –
           facilitator, facilitator & participants or participants
           alone (takes into three political modes of facilitation)
    2.     What intervention is to be used in dealing with the
       Three Modes of Facilitation
    Three modes = politics of learning
    I.e each dimension can be handled in three different ways; one of the
     ways which provide answer as to who should make decisions on each
    Three modes are:
1.   Hierarchical mode – facilitator direct learning process; do things for the
     group; you decide on objectives of agenda, challenge resistances,
     manage group feelings & take full responsibility for all major decisions
2.   Co-operative mode – facilitator share power over learning process;
     enable & guide group to become more self-directing; work with
     members to decide on agenda, confront resistances, etc; share your
     own view but its not final
3.   Autonomous mode – respect total autonomy of group; do not do
     things for/with the group; without any reminders, guidance or
     assistance – the group develop own agenda, give meaning, ways to
     confront their avoidances, etc; subtle art of creating conditions within
     which people can exercise full self-determination in their learning
    Experienced facilitator can use all three modes in each of six
     dimensions (see 18 basic option on pp.15-16)
    Too much hierarchical makes participants passive; too much co-
     operative degenerate into subtle nurturing oppression
       1) Planning Dimension
    Six key areas for planning:
1.   Objectives – learning outcomes of what members will
     acquire from workshop/meeting
2.   Programme – timetable/agenda; steps to be followed in
3.   Methods – format/approach during meeting, house rules
4.   Resources – HR, specialists, etc. needed to achieve goals &
     objectives; stationary; equipment, etc
5.   Assessment – KPI’s to know whether members realized
     objectives (against objectives & programme)
6.   Evaluation – of facilitators style & effectiveness on above
     five elements
    Keep in mind the three decision-modes (hierarchy,
     cooperation & autonomy) that can be applied at each key
       Refining Decision-Modes
      Each three main decision-modes has two basic forms:
1.     Hierarchical mode:
     1.  Autocratic direction – you decide
     2.  Consultative direction – allow input from group but
         final decision is yours
2.     Cooperative mode:
     1.  Negotiation – decide between your options & the
     2.  Coordination – not negotiating merely chairing
3.     Autonomous mode:
     1.  Functional delegation – by direction/negotiation you
         delegate to members
     2.  Contractual delegation – all done by group,
         facilitator delegated all.
     2) Meaning Dimension
        How participants make sense of what’s
         happening & acquire understanding of it
        Four forms of understanding:
    1.     Conceptual – that something is the case; expressed in
    2.     Imaginal – configurations in form & process;
           expressed in symbolism/metaphorical
    3.     Practical – how to act & do something; expressed in
           practical skill
    4.     Experiential – by encounter; expressed in process of
           being there, face-to-face, etc.
        Good facilitator applies all four forms of
         understanding during meaning dimension phase;
         again by means of three basic decision forms
     3) Confronting Dimension
      Raising consciousness about members resistances & avoidances of
       things needed to be faced & dealt with
      Avoidance leads to block = rigidity – which prevents
      Relates back to 3 negative forms of group dynamic with 2 additions:
    1.     Educational alienation – group limited to one kind of learning;
           intellectual cut off from emotions & spirit
    2.     Cultural oppression – behaviour constrained into resistant blocks
           of norms & values of members
    3.     Psychological defensiveness – ‘fearing the unknown’
    4.     Underdevelopment – members lack knowledge in area of special
           skills i.e. planning, management etc.
    5.     Easy street – only focus on what’s easy & known to by the
      Need to be respectful & affirmative of persons while being
       uncompromising about issue of rigid behaviour; tell truth without
       being judgmental, moralistic, oppressive or nagging
       4) Feeling Dimension
      Concerned with management of both feeling & emotion of the
       management processes
      Feeling = participatory effect (part of group)
      Emotion = individualizing affect (fulfillment/frustration of own
       needs & interests)
      How to handle this dimension – through seven positive & eight
       negative emotional processes to be handled during facilitation
       of group dynamic:
      Seven positive emotional processes
    1.    Identification – member knows emotional state
    2.    Acceptance – knows & accepts emotional state
    3.    Control – their own emotional state
    4.    Redirection – “keeping the pose”
    5.    Switching – “changing the topic”
    6.    Transmutation – change emotion within the self
    7.    Catharsis – discharge distress emotions; anger, grief, etc.
    8.    Expression – gives verbal & physical expression to emotions
    4) Feeling Dimension (cont.)
      Eight negative emotional processes:
    1.    Alienation – member cut of from emotional state &
          can’t id it
    2.    Suppression – id emotional state but suppress it
    3.    Fixation – stuck in emotional state & sunk into
    4.    Displacement – distress emotion displaced into socially
          inappropriate action or negative attitude
    5.    Distraction - emotional state fluctuate
    6.    Degradation – emotional state going into even lower
    7.    Dramatization – acted out in hysterical or rigid form
    8.    Repression – denial of emotional state; out of mind
      You must assist members to overcome the above
      Group dynamic always combination of positive & negative
       emotional processes
       5) Structuring Dimension
    Structuring to process of workshop/meeting
    Planning & structuring an exercise:
    Interrelates topics, time, resources, workshop format & assessment
    Its to do with active implementation of agenda/plan for
    Best way is through experiential learning – use real topic to develop by
     group members
    Supervision of above learning is as follows:
1.   Modeling skill conceptually – verbal description of what’s required from
     members by case-study or video, etc.
2.   Describing the exercise – detailed explanation with instructions (first 2
     steps done while still in big group)
3.   Practice – break participants into small groups for each member to
     practice his/her skill
4.   Feedback – each group give feedback with each member getting a turn
     to do so
5.   Reruns – small group members give input & might rework doc
6.   Reflection – group reflect together to report to big group
7.   Review – small groups bag into big groups to form unit of all reports
    See facilitator’s tool-kit pp.264-272
          6) Valuing Dimension
        Seeks to create climate of respect for persons &
         personal autonomy where group members feel
         valued & honoured – to disclose more of their true
         needs, interests & determine own reality &
        “it is the ecological sense of uniqueness coupled
         with inter-subjectivity & inter-being” – i.e. the
         autonomy of an individual
        “The sum total of my past acts constitutes the
         person I have become today”
        Person ha four psychological modes:
    1.     Willing – happens because of aware discrimination of –
    2.     Thinking – made wise by receptivity of intuition through-
    3.     Feeling – in participation in wider reaches of culture
     6) Valuing Dimension (cont.)
    Six main forms of autonomous personhood:
1.   Deranged person – behaviour is erratically & chaotic; voluntary
     choice is minimal & severely restricted
2.   Compulsive person – behaviour in certain ways rigid, repetitive &
     relatively unaware; most of people have some sort of compulsive
3.   Conventional person – behaviour unreflectively conforms to
     prevailing norms of wider culture of a group
4.   Creative person – behaviour genuinely autonomous in major
     areas of parenthood, family, friendship, relationship, education,
     social & political action, profession, etc.; person has values,
     norms & beliefs which are internally committed – gives systematic
     creative expression
5.   Self-creating person – autonomous behaviour now becomes
     reflective; becomes self-determining about self-determination
6.   Self-transfiguring person – autonomy reaches out to uncover
     latent powers within the soul; person freely chooses to unfold
     access to universal consciousness & unseen powers - faith

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