by Steve Roche

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Most of the points about setting up and managing successful meetings are relevant to this topic. A good meeting chair will be a good facilitator.

Action Learning

Facilitation skills are essential to Action Learning.




Someone who is already a good presenter, trainer or coach is likely to have many of the skills of a good facilitator.

Listening Skills

Questioning Skills

These are two of the primary skill sets that are needed in order to facilitate well.


The complete facilitator’s handbook

John Heron, published by Kogan Page Ltd, 1999, 304 pages

A comprehensive guide to successful facilitation, aimed at helping people understand and develop their own personal style. It has strong theoretical content plus an extensive repertoire for practical action.

The facilitator’s fieldbook

Thomas Justice, David Jamieson, published by Amacom, 1999, 461 pages

A useful ‘how to’ book on facilitating meetings or conferences, this focuses on how a group communicates and performs, and on how to solve such common problems as uneven participation or poor follow-up.

Influencing with integrity

Genie Z Laborde, published by Anglo American Book Co, 1998, 272 pages

This classic work on using NLP for communication and negotiation gives powerful tools for understanding our internal motivations and drivers. There are useful exercises: for developing sensory acuity, for example. The meta model is simplified to five ‘pointers’ which you can anchor to your fingers to remember them easily. The book also effectively addresses the chestnut about NLP being manipulative.

The facilitation of groups

Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor, published by Gower Publishing, 1999, 222 pages

Examines the art of facilitation, focusing on the role and skills of the facilitator. Shows how to empower a group, provides practical activities and a model training programme.

The zen of groups: a handbook for people meeting with a purpose

Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor, published by Gower Publishing, 1996, 196 pages

Offers insights into what makes groups work powerfully, and includes a comprehensive toolkit of techniques and exercises for developing group effectiveness.

Open space technology

Harrison Owen, published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1998, 173 pages

Describes powerful processes for facilitating larger groups

Future search

Marvin Weisboard and Sandra Janoff, published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000, 265 pages

An approach where people with a stake in an organisation or issue come together for two or three days to explore their mutual past, present and future in a global context. Full of principles, techniques and tips on group dynamics and facilitation methods


You can also contact the author directly: Steve Roche