In a recent meeting, the question was asked, “What does it take to be effective at group facilitation?”
There are a number of facilitation "skills" in which people can receive training. But after thinking about it, I answered: “You have to be an active part of what's going on and be able to watch it from the outside at the same time.”
It's like acting in a theater production while sitting in the audience. You focus on the script that's being acted out while interacting with the other characters; you watch how it unfolds; then, offer direction and coaching based on the performance.
I think we short-change our managers when we don't make facilitation an integral part of management development. Effective facilitation requires an unbelievably deep awareness of self, task and process. In fact, it's exhausting because it requires "being there."This is exactly what we want to become as leaders: People who are engaged with what needs to happen while orchestrating how to make it happen.