Facilitation … Coaching … Consulting … Mediation … Moderation
Cultivating Healthy Organisations
Organisations are communities in which people work.
What does a Facilitator ‘do’?
A facilitator creates and holds the space that enables a group to focus on finding their responses to their challenges.
S/he provides orientation, focus and structure, taking care to limit direct interventions.
Most interventions take the form of Questions, which may be conscious provocations.
Suggestions to the group are genuine invitations.
A group cannot facilitate itself.
When does Facilitation add value … and how?
Contexts which require Facilitation include …
- Intentional Organisation Culture Change;
- M&A Integration / Post-Merger Integration;
- Management and Project Team Integration;
- Overcoming problems among groups of people who need to work together;
- Large Group Interventions, in which you wish to tap into the wisdom of the group.
The principles of Bohmian Dialogue lie at the core of my facilitation practice.
To gain clarity … Question all assumptions.
What does a Coach ‘do’?
A Coach … Questions … Provokes … Searches … Questions … to enable the client to access the roots of the issues holding them back or troubling them.
Coaching is about personal orientation.
Coaching is about the client, not the coach.
The coach says as little as possible … creating and holding a space for the client.
The job of a Coach is to enable clients to broaden their range of perspectives of critical issues, enabling them to make the best possible decisions for themselves and their organisation.
Clarification of two widespread misconceptions about coaching:
- A skilled coach does not require specific subject knowledge. Coaching is neither teaching nor training. There is no such thing as business coaching.
- “Agile coaching” is frequently confused with “coaching”. It’s different. It is akin to sports coaching, ie, enabling groups to work together to achieve specific goals according to a pre-defined method. It’s directive. Coaching is not directive.
Situations in which Coaching is beneficial include …
- Leaders: All leaders benefit from working with a skilled coach to enable them to see their challenges through different lenses;
- Individuals taking on new senior positions;
- Gaining clarity in high-pressure situations;
- Dealing with unforeseen challenges;
- Personal challenges in a professional environment;
- Meeting an unknown problem.
To maintain integrity for the client and myself, the following principles are non-negotiable:
- Coaching intentions/goals are agreed with the coaching client only;
- All exchanges between coach and coaching client remain confidential;
- The organisation receives no reports.
Reflections on my coaching practice: Coaching with Intentions and Intuition
The job of a Consultant is to find the Powerful Questions that enable the client move forward.
A long time ago, I learned that consulting was about having answers for clients.
Then I discovered I was wrong.
“Good morning. This is Eric. He’s going to ask you all kinds of Questions that you don’t want to hear, but need to!” Following this introduction to a Senior Project Manager leading an international consortium in conflict, my client left the room.
Asking Questions according to the principle: “The client knows what they need, even if they don’t know that they know”, has become core to my consulting practice.
A long time ago, I learned that clients knew what their problems are.
Then I discovered I was wrong.
I have since discovered that in only about 20% of cases are clients able to name the real issues troubling them. In 80% of cases, their core Question is another, generally broader than the “problem” they had in mind. As a consultant, I wish to support clients by focusing on their real issue, rather than the wrong Questions.
There is little point in beginning an initiative without diagnosing clients’ crucial challenges. This process entails obtaining a variety of perspectives on the status, issues and challenges facing the organisation.
The cultureQs® Organisation Culture Diagnostic is an appraisal of the underlying patterns that make your company or organisation what it is today.
It consists of a series of structured yet free-flowing interviews with key leaders and employees.
All interviews are confidential: the report contains no individual attribution of perspectives.
Interviews enable us to shape an environment of trust with interviewees, ask deep Questions, experience emotions, clarify meaning, resulting in a quality of response otherwise unattainable.
Online formulae and questionnaires can never approach the depth achieved by individual interviews and focus groups, and therefore, never produce the insights your organisation needs to move forward generatively.
Situations in which Organisations need a Diagnostic include …
- Discovering the causes of a significant problem;
- Before starting Organisation Culture Change Initiatives;
- Moving forward following an acquisition (Post-Merger Integration).
Conflicts can only be resolved by the conflicting parties.
When fog envelopes the environment …
As the pressure increases, as the stakes increase, so does stress. And with stress comes an inability to focus clearly on what really matters. Conflict ensues, the pressure increases further and with it the level of stress. And perhaps there is something else going on that all parties are not fully aware of?
The economic damage to the business, not only through work not getting done, but perhaps more importantly, the psychological stresses suffered by people, should be obvious to any experienced leader.
Perhaps you need a mediator … to enable your team to refocus together … on adding value for the whole organisation, including the team members themselves.
A mediator does not solve problems.
A mediator does not guide people to solve their problems.
A mediator opens perspectives to enable people to clear the fog themselves … focus on what really matters … and walk a new path … together.
Situations in which Mediation is beneficial include …
- Conflicts among consortium partners in projects;
- Personal Conflicts between leaders in executive teams;
- Conflicts between headquarters and foreign subsidiaries;
- Conflicts between customers and suppliers;
- Conflicts between HR and employees;
- Conflicts between leaders and team members.
To preserve integrity, the following principles are non-negotiable:
- What happens in the room stays in the room.
- The organisation receives no reports on individual behaviour from the mediator.
Moderation entails guiding a group towards a pre-defined goal.
Sometimes, it is beneficial for both the organisation and the group to be guided towards taking on board and implementing pre-defined objectives, using a pre-defined process.
Group moderation entails a degree of manipulation.
Consequently, to maintain integrity of the process and all people concerned, including the moderator, it is essential to obtain the group’s consent before beginning the process.
Group Moderation is frequently referred to as “Facilitation”. It is not. The difference is essential.
Situations in which Group Moderation adds value include …
- Strategy implementation;
- Understanding and implementing new processes;
- Implementation of changes in project specifications.