Role, skills, and attributes of facilitation
In the education field, some roles have a blurry line from one another such as trainer, coach, and mentor.
For these roles, the most fundamental similarity is the belief in the agency of individual humans to improve themselves. However, as shown in the table the responsibility and roles differ from one to another. As a facilitator, it's not necessary to have expertise in one topic since the main role is to facilitate (make things easy) a journey to reach the group´s objective by reflecting ideas and data from the group as well as being able to alter feelings and individual's needs.
What a facilitator should have?
Heron (1993) provides moral principles of facilitation for a facilitator to follow:
1. The principle of love – which is the commitment of the facilitator to provide conditions where people can freely determine and fulfill their own true needs and interests.
2. The principle of impartiality – where each person’s special needs and interests are considered equally by the facilitator.
3. The principle of respect for persons – where the facilitator acknowledges the right of every person to make autonomous choices about what they do or do not do in the group and to be given adequate information about any proposed activity so that they can make an informed choice about it.
Keeping these three principles in mind, a facilitator should have attitudes and behavior as follow:
A facilitator is genuinely free of a desire to control the outcome; has skills in helping people engage in genuine dialogue; respects the capacity of the group to discover the nature of their problems
A facilitator gives a respectful hearing to all attitudes and feelings, no matter how ´extreme´ or ´unrealistic´.
A facilitator permits the members of a group to choose, collectively and individually, their process and work towards their own goals.
A facilitator can demonstrate effective listening skills, keep people on track, ask the right questions and ignite creativity and insight, be comfortable with silence, analyze and synthesize issues, and be constantly neutral during group discussions.
A facilitator provides physical involvement: good eye contact, energy level, positive body language.