When it was published in 1994, Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator earned widespread critical acclaim and became a landmark in the field. The book is a classic work for consultants, facilitators, managers, leaders, trainers, and coaches--anyone whose role is to facilitate and guide groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential. This thoroughly revised edition provides the essential materials for anyone that works within the field of facilitation and includes simple but effective ground rules for group interaction. Filled with illustrative examples, the book contains proven techniques for starting meetings on the right foot and ending them positively and decisively. This important resource also offers practical methods for handling emotions when they arise in a group and offers a diagnostic approach for identifying and solving problems that can undermine the group process.
"The Skilled Facilitator is an invaluable text and should be required reading for all who aspire to excellence in facilitation." (Training Media Review, June 26, 2003)
From the Inside Flap
When it was published in 1994, Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator earned widespread critical acclaim and became a landmark in the field. The book is a classic work for consultants, facilitators, managers, leaders, trainers, and coaches--anyone whose role is to guide groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential.
This thoroughly revised edition provides the essential materials for facilitators and includes simple but effective ground rules for group interaction. Filled with illustrative examples, the book contains proven techniques for starting meetings on the right foot and ending them positively and decisively. This important resource also offers practical methods for handling emotions when they arise in a group and offers a diagnostic approach for identifying and solving problems that can undermine the group process.
Based on Schwarz's practical experience working in the field and the feedback he has received in his dynamic workshops, this revised edition is easier to use and much more accessible. Grounded in the latest thinking on teams, organization development, and facilitation, this new edition
Takes a more conversational approach
Offers a clear analysis of the Skilled Facilitator approach, based on a set of core values, assumptions, and principles
Defines the five facilitative roles--facilitator, leader, coach, consultant, and trainer
Shows how groups can act inconsistently with ground rules and what to do to intervene
Describes the theories that guide a facilitator's actions
The Skilled Facilitator also includes practical advice on how to work with outside consultants and how to facilitate groups within one's own organization, along with a groundbreaking section on facilitative leadership.
I picked up this book because I needed to read up on how better to sell facilitation and exactly what facilitators should be doing. This book explains this and more. However, if you are looking for a simple overview of what a facilitator should, could and would do incertain situations, this is NOT your book. If you are a manager trying to be a better facilitator, do not buy this book unless you want in-depth information.
That said, if you are a facilitator looking to improve your skills, combine theory and practice or simply go back to the basics of what makes some facilitators great, this is your book.
Also, if you are a manager who really wants to become an effective facilitator/mentor, this is your book. But don't think that you can simply read the material and be more effective. The ideas and theory will take practice. Luckily, the book also gives many examples to make the ideas and theories practical and concrete.
As I said, I bought it to become better at selling professional facilitation. It gave me that and much more. I will keep it as an invaluable resource and make sure all of my facilitators utilize the practices described in detail.
The subtitle of this accessible guide to facilitation, "Practical Wisdom For Developing Effective Groups", accurately describes the book's scope and utility. In four parts and thirteen chapters, Schwarz provides an overview, with countless meaningful examples, of how facilitators can most effectively help groups develop their capacity for improvement. He distinguishes between two types of facilitation: (1) Basic facilitation, which aims to help a group "solve a substantive problem"; and (2) Developmental facilitation, which accomplishes basic facilitation while helping a group learn "to improve its process". He argues that three core values underlie effective group and facilitator behavior. The first is "valid information", which means that relevant information is shared by group members and that all groups members can validate and understand the information. The second is "free and informed choice", which means that group members define their own goals and methods of achieving those goals using valid information. The third is, "internal commitment to the choice", which means that group members take responsibility for their decisions by making informed choices based on valid information. Using a basic or developmental approach, facilitators most effectively intervene by making explicit and modeling these core values. These values are maintained by a group agreeing and sticking to essential ground rules, which Schwarz lists on p. 75 and treats extensively throughout the book.
In the heart of Schwarz's book are seven chapters on intervening effectively in groups. In those chapters, he advises the reader on, among other things, how to intervene, meeting management, group problem-solving, following ground rules, and dealing with emotions. Read more ›
As a new entry to the facilitation field, I wanted to find out what the industry thought was the BEST resource for combining theory with the practices of facilitation. I submitted my request to GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu, which, as far as I know, is the largest online discussion forum for active, professional facilitators. Roger Schwartz's book, "The Skilled Facilitator" was by far the favorite choice of people in the profession. I am ordering my copy now!