Facilitation & moderation

Facilitation of group processes and events

One of my favorite things is facilitating group-processes aimed at deep, constructive change.

And to be frank with you, part of this skill has been born out of frustration. Frustration as I’ve been part of countless groups of capable, well-intentioned people, that would lead to absolutely nothing ~ just because the facilitation fell short. Over time, I’ve grown confident that there are both more fun and more effective ways of working with groups for shared results.

So what do I do differently? In a nutshell:

  • The purpose of the meeting functions as our compass, guiding us to ‘stay on track’

  • Eliminating what is not serving our purpose ensures ample time for engaging in what’s essential

  • Clear structures support people to work towards a shared purpose (instead of individual agenda’s)

  • Creating a safe space through small group exchanges encourages authenticity and connection

  • Methods for digestion and reflection engage people in their agency and intelligence (instead of overloading them with information and treating them as passive consumers)

  • Working with the group’s energy and mood creates an uplifted space in which ‘the new’ can emerge

  • Gently challenging ‘comfort zones’ inspires collective courage, motivation, and innovation

Below you can read more about how I work. I also enjoy working with worldviews as tools for change, interactive talks, Art of Hosting, and laboratory approaches to trajectories of change.

Here you can find some testimonials by people who’ve worked with me.

More about how I work

As said before, I LOVE facilitating group-processes aimed at constructive, deep change in service of some greater purpose.

My personal history has prepared me well for this task: I have a broad background in sustainability-issues and a well-trained mind (e.g., through my dissertation), and I also have been deeply engaged in processes of individual and group transformation for about twenty years.

I love facilitation because I really get to serve. I let go of ‘me’ and ‘my ideas’, and devote myself to creating the conditions under which a group can connect authentically, dialogue deeper, and collaborate in more powerful and innovative ways.

I also love it because I get to push the boundaries a little bit ~ however, always gently, and while preserving the safety of the group space. But just enough so we all feel renewed and inspired and can start to innovate and move beyond existing barriers.

That is, moving beyond our comfort zones we tend to feel uplifted and empowered, more daring and creative, newly capable and confident.

I may use simple dialogue techniques that enable people to share with each other in more mindful and authentic ways. This ‘opens up’ the group space, allowing people to be more engaged and real, and empowering the group as a whole to come up with new ideas and connections.

In designing an event I also make sure I include different elements, creating a lively balance between passive absorption and active engagement, between well-defined structures and openness for emergence, between exchanging with others and allowing people to reflect and explore individually.

I’m also taking care that, in dialogue with the event organizers, we define a crystal-clear ‘North Star’. This is the purpose of the meeting, which we will use as our compass. This is essential for not getting lost in the journey, drowning in a focus on irrelevant details, or engaging in an “analysis-paralysis” that distracts from where we want to go.

Have you noticed how meetings often seem to devote so much time to irrelevant details, to subsequently rush through the important stuff, claiming there’s no time?!?

It’s the art of keeping the focus while allowing the natural meandering and play of any group engagement.

Another element I take great care of is the dynamics within the group, aiming for all voices to be heard, and preventing individual agenda’s to deplete the group’s time and energy. In my experience, group processes are frequently dominated by the aims (or ego’s) of some individuals, while the shared purpose is lost out of sight. This does such a disservice to the group process.

Facilitation and moderation however is much more than a bunch of powerful methods and well-thought through principles. In fact, the quality of attention, clarity, and presence of the facilitator is one of the key (though often overlooked) ingredients to great facilitation.

This is one of the reasons I love ‘Art of Hosting‘, and work with it a lot. Righteously so, they refer to hosting as an art form.

Over time I have come to realize that innovative group processes and creative collaboration are crucial for tackling the urgent issues of our time. It’s one of the things we still have to get a lot better at if we want to generate real change.

So whether I’m moderating a roundtable, leading a workshop, facilitating an event, or designing new work formats, my aim is to enable a process in service of transformational change. I do this through creating the fertile soil in which the seeds for change can be sowed.

Deep change is as natural as the growth of a plant. We can’t force it to grow. All we can do is sow the seeds, and make sure the conditions are conducive.

And while deep change ~ like a plant ~ generally doesn’t emerge overnight, it is so worthwhile to watch any group’s slow yet steady process of growth and enfoldment towards flowering.