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Facilitation Stories


Welcome to Facilitation Stories, where we discover how facilitators ended up in the profession, and how facilitation methods, principles and techniques are used more widely.

Jan 6, 2020

Martin Gilbraith is a facilitato, trainer and consultant, and Chair of the IAF England and Wales board. He started hosting IAF meet ups about 5 years ago and has been facilitating since 1986.

He is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF),  an ICA Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and experienced lead trainer and licensed provider of ‘ICA’s ‘ToP’ facilitation training and a Certified Scrum Master (CSM). 

Martin talks about the importance of values – both personal and IAF values which talk about the collective wisdom of the group.

He says that what you believe has an enormous impact on the group.

Martin talks about defining values and how the IAF values resonate with him and his involvement with developing the ICA UK values.

Values are what is important to people and what drives them, and are important to be able to define what is meaningful and important to them.

He told us about taking decisions not to do work that conflicted with his values, mostly around contracting with the client.

We discussed the set up for sessions and how to deal with it if it is not what you want, particularly thinking about hybrid meetings. Sometimes even if the result is not perfect there are reasons why you might want to take a piece of work; in this example where the team was used to working in a distributed way on line and the group is used to the constraints and the client is known to the facilitator.

Client contracts always come with constraints and it is the facilitators responsibility to work within these constraints. Sometimes the parameters are really complex and you just have to do the best you can.

Sometimes things that’s people do unconsciously turn out to be core values.

Martin talked about his involvement in the ICA UK and how the values were developed. One of the ways this was done was through using the ORID methodology to ask questions to members and stakeholders followed by a consensus building process at a workshop.

Facilitators often facilitate sessions to help organisations come up with their own values.

It’s important to start with real life experiences and something that is important and meaningful to people to help them define their values.

Martin started working with ICA as a volunteer and his first workshop involved creating a personal timeline as a personal reflection tool.

He talked about a book by John and Maureen Jenkins (founder members of IAF) - 9 disciplines of a facilitator – leading groups by transforming yourself. All about understanding your own values. A phrase from Maureen that resonated with Martin “however good a facilitator you are […] your most powerful tool as a facilitator is your own interior condition”

Martin explains a bit further what ORID is and how it is his universal principle of facilitator.

He finally shared a quote from Groucho Marx: “These are my principles, and if you don’t like them….well, I have others.”

You can get in touch with Martin and find out more about him here: https://martingilbraith.com/about-me/

On twitter:

Martin @martingilbraith

Helene @helenejewell

Pilar @pilarorti

Other links:

https://www.iaf-world.org/site/professional/iaf-code-of-ethics

https://martingilbraith.com/2014/07/24/facilitation-ethics-and-values-where-do-you-draw-a-line/

https://martingilbraith.com/2014/02/25/four-steps-to-a-universal-principle-of-facilitation-and-learning/

https://www.ica-uk.org.uk/about-ica/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Disciplines-Facilitator-Transforming-International-Facilitators/dp/0787980684

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