Pre-shindig reflections

Next week, I’m due to attend a facilitation training session with Julie Drybrough, and the focus of this session is about movement. I’ve been reading her blog post today to get myself thinking ahead of the session. It’s rare these days I take purposeful time out to develop my own skills, hone them, and be amongst a group of practitioners from whom I can just sit back and watch magic happen. When I am in sessions like this, I’m usually very pensive, mostly because I’m trying to make sure I’m as present as I can be.

Here are some thoughts on where I am.

I agree with Jools that when doing this facilitation thing, it’s about working with a group of people, and only being able to help them move to their desired state, if that’s where they want to go. If they don’t, then no amount of skills will help them get there. And this is often where I find the best facilitators I’ve been around show how good they are. They’ve helped create and cultivate an environment where you want to move. It’s hard to describe what that is. It’s something I strive for. I want people to move, so to do that, I have to understand where they’re at, and work with them to understand how I can help them move to where they want to go.

And I like the thinking behind how we’re all connected by the many things, people, influences, environments, and all those other factors that affect us, and we don’t always know how to articulate. It’s something I’ve started to design in to the sessions I facilitate in recent years. An acknowledgement of things that are present and that we shouldn’t ignore. Helping people to express where they’re at. Providing them ways to say what they need and what they want. It’s not always easy. And it doesn’t always happen. But when it does, the richness of thinking and of being. That’s lovely stuff.

Oh and the system. Yes, of course the system that either we’re part of or that we bring with us. And also our system – who I am, what my body tells me, what I think, all I know, all I don’t, and all that is messy. That desired state we want to move into. That desired state we want to make easy for others to be present in. To create and cultivate such a space where people can do this. They can experience a movement of their thinking, of their being, of their person.

I’ve been reflecting with others about how we allow ourselves permission to be who we are. What does it mean to be authentic as a facilitator. Does that help the movement of the group by you displaying a genuineness, a sensitivity, a connection? How do we take “self as instrument” and use this as a guide for others so they can see, understand, debate, examine, explore, and experiment?

I’m intrigued by the embodied approach and what this means. I’m reflecting on how I get to be my best self when I need to facilitate at a high level. What’s my process? There are numerous things. Preparation is of course the biggest. Planning for exactly what needs to happen and when. Having such clarity on the plan that if it goes skew whiff, I won’t get flustered, that I know where we need to get to and adapt as necessary. Arriving early and setting the room as I want it. The movement of stuff helps me feel like I have control over the space, of myself and why I’m intending on having things in a certain way. That gives way almost immediately when others are present to, we make use of this space as we need. It is laid out like this now, and that’s temporary. Cultivating mindfulness, at a very personal level. What is my body telling me? Am I hungry? Do I need the toilet now or later? When did I have tea? Do I need another? Where’s my water? When will I have fruit today? How am I keeping well? Where is my attention?

I watched the video with Wendy Palmer. And when she asked the question, what do you now think about the irritating thing you thought about before, my response was – I don’t care about it. And I totally understood that the flow in the energy in my body helped me find a mental space to look at that irritation and just not be bothered by it. Intriguing.

I enjoy facilitation. It’s a skill I constantly seek to be better at. This dedicated space will be helpful to provide me a moment to consider more deeply what I’m doing. And I often find that the learning continues for a long time after. Some years back when I was part of a group who self-facilitated a ‘facilitation jam’ it really helped shape my thoughts on facilitation and how I wanted to move forward with it. And I’m guessing the same will happen from here too.


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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