Process design: where facilitator’s expertise is most called for

J’ai participé à la conférence Européen de l’IAF (International Association of Facilitators) dans laquelle j’ai animé une session de 2h sur le Design un processus pour un cas concret. Ce fut une très bonne expérience pour moi et j’ai appris plein de nouvelles choses. Pour donner un support pour cette session, j’ai écrit un article apparu dans IAF newsletter du Septembre 2012. Je voudrais le partager avec vous:


The power of a facilitation service resides in the process and the capacity of the facilitator to guide the group through this process. It’s also the only place where the facilitator is more than ever visible (which is not the case when he is with the group during his facilitation).

Facilitators make decisions about the process and must be the ones who know exactly what to do in each step of the process.

I’ve experienced a situation where there was no process and the organizer improvised step by step. After a while, he lost his credibility in the group and then he lost the group completely.

I’ve experienced a workshop where the process is not adapted to the group’s needs. Participants are forced to work on something that they don’t care about, are not interested in, or not ready to work on. What the client got were frustrated participants, poor participation and a bad result.

The best experience that I had is in a workshop where we (participants) knew why we were there and what we needed to do; the topic was interesting; and the facilitator knew exactly how we would proceed. When our energy was low, the facilitator adapted the process and method so we didn’t feel too tired to continue. We finished the workshop really happy with what we accomplished.

Designing a good process

So what makes a good process?

When preparing for a session and designing a process, the facilitator needs to take in to account:

  • The situation of the client and their real needs
  • The objectives of the intervention, expected results
  • What are important questions of the workshop?
  • The participants: who should participate? The number of participants?
  • The impact of this intervention:  what changes? Who affected?

And he/she can then think of what methods would he use in this case, what are important steps? What is the adapted process?

Finally, visualize the whole process for yourself. You’ll see things that you don’t see with eyes open!

In this whole process, the facilitator is constantly in contact with the client and validating the process with them before any meeting or workshop begins.

The design work becomes complicated when you have a project which lasts for a long time (6 months, 1 year, 2 years…) during which you have to design not just one process, but both a big process and a series of small processes.

And when your boss comes to you and says that: “I would like you to conduct this project. We’ve negotiated the contract and the process in general”. What do you do in this case?

A télécharger

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