The Skilled Facilitator | Roger Schwarz

Summary of: The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches
By: Roger Schwarz


In this summary of Roger Schwarz’s ‘The Skilled Facilitator’, we explore the various roles a facilitator can take and the core values to uphold in order to enhance team effectiveness. Schwarz provides valuable insights into guiding a group, helping its members communicate effectively and sharing experience and knowledge. The Skilled Facilitator approach is analogous to a computer’s operating system, increasing the effectiveness of any group or team it is applied to. With this crucial roadmap, you will uncover the methods, principles, and 9 ground rules to efficiently lead meetings while empowering group members.

Effective Facilitation Roles

Companies operate in a complex environment using teams while incorporating a facilitator to enhance teamwork. The facilitator needs to adopt different roles to effectively manage the team. As a Facilitator, there are different approaches to the role you take which include Facilitator Role, Facilitative Consultant, Facilitative Coach, and Facilitative Trainer. The Facilitator’s responsibility is to enhance the effectiveness of the group by improving the processes and structures. To avoid confusion, it is crucial to assume the appropriate role while leading a group. In challenging roles, such as Facilitator Leader, opinions should be shared to identify any gaps.

The Skilled Facilitator Approach

Enhance team effectiveness by following the Skilled Facilitator approach, which values valid information, free and informed choice, internal commitment to decisions, and compassion towards others. This approach requires offering accurate data that people trust as true, allowing open and honest discussion without withholding details, encouraging people to take responsibility for their decisions, and avoiding judgment of others while respecting diverse perspectives. By utilizing these four core values, any team can improve its communication and collaboration, leading to better outcomes and a stronger team dynamic.

Effective Communication

Assume integrity, share information, consider others’ perspectives, and communicate effectively by viewing diverse perspectives as avenues for learning. The Skilled Facilitator approach increases the efficiency of any compatible application software it runs with, making it an effective operating system software. Reactions should be considered before sharing your conclusions.

9 Rules to Follow for Effective Meetings

Effective communication is crucial for successful meetings, and to facilitate this, there are nine rules that everyone should adhere to. The first is to not accept everything at face value but to evaluate new information using the “ladder of inference,” which involves noting directly observable data, selecting data, translating and labeling data, evaluating and causally explaining, and making decisions. The second rule is to share all relevant information, even if it contradicts one’s position. The third is to use specific examples and agree on the meaning of important words. The fourth is to explain one’s reasoning and intention for reaching a particular conclusion. The fifth is to focus on interests rather than positions, which allows for better decision-making. The sixth is to combine advocacy and inquiry to encourage a focused conversation. The seventh is to jointly design next steps and ways to test disagreements. The eighth is to discuss undiscussable issues, even if it may cause discomfort, to avoid deteriorating situations. Lastly, the ninth is to use a decision-making rule that generates the level of commitment needed, considering the circumstances, and ensuring that everyone’s voices are heard. By following these nine rules, meeting participants can communicate effectively, reach decisions efficiently, and maintain a cohesive and productive working environment.

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