The Tree House

Resourcing Facilitation

Author: @peter
Posted: 16/05/2024

How is the project going to resource facilitation, and ensure facilitation quality?

I love this question, and find myself asking it too. In the VB it is mentioned that the project is ambitious, but in almost all respects, the project is actually doing nothing new. Building a cooperative non-profit organization powered by the spirit of volunteering. Teaching ourselves all the skills we need (and more) along the way. Building something that the world might not ever seen before and is maybe inconceivable when viewed through the lens of convention. For all that, we need only look to the open source software projects, or the cohousing movement, as just two examples.

But facilitation does rather seem to have this chicken and egg thing going on. How do you practice without facilitation? And how you do learn to facilitate without practice? But as i reflect on this, i think when broken down, its the same caliber of problem that the above projects face every day. And the same miracles of creativity, perseverance, and the support of each other, can be brought to bear on the matter.

So lets look at it. In some perfect version of the world, each participant would progress through a path of practice, and then naturally into a path of facilitation accreditation. As a way of giving something back to the community. As a way of closing of the loop. Making it a true peer to peer practice. I do believe that facilitation is actually one of the very best ways to learn the practices. And, our facilitation model, is relatively simple and fast to learn. (We love Peter Block's definition: Its about making a space for participants to have a conversation with each other.) And actually the overlap between practice skillsets and facilitation skillsets is super high. AR practice more than any other discipline creates a leader in every chair. Once you find yourself starting to incorporate the practices into your every day conversations, congratulations, you are becoming a facilitator.

And. In the real world, people all have different gifts, right? For this reason, the pod structure creates an environment where each person can contribute their unique skills and experience. For some that may include a facilitation pathway. For others, it might instead be a talent for writing, illustration, graphic design, promotion, networking, video production, IT, research, record keeping, practice design, QA, coordination or group process, among the many, many other skills that the project would love to have offered.

The answer to the rest of the question is, in many ways the real crux of the project. While on one hand, currently facilitation training is expensive, which limits the number of available facilitators, which makes the offerings of these facilitators less affordable etc etc. All of which limits the growth of the movement. On the other hand, there is this desire to make the movement less hierarchical, less siloed, less proprietary, more documented, more collaborative. And for that perhaps we can look no further than the many large flourishing open source software projects (eg Firefox, Debian Linux, Libre Office or QGIS), for the answers. This is a world where the sum of many many individual, passionate folk, eager to contribute to a better world can create incredible things.

So, we find ourselves trusting that the expansion of the group will bring the insight, creativity, strategy and resources to advance this question.

Four important components come to mind:

1. A practice history (there is no substitute for seat time)

2. Theory thesis presentations (if you can teach it, you know it)

3. Facilitation practice (learning by making mistakes)

4. Peer mentoring and feedback (in teal organizations feedback is everything)

Note that views expressed in blogs do not necessarity reflect the views of the Project. They are the blog authors version of truth.

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