What is facilitation?

the act of helping other people to deal with a process or reach an agreement or solution without getting directly involved in the process, discussion, etc. yourself

English dictionary definition

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The University Strategy highlights the need for operational efficiency and effectiveness at a number of levels across the university. Facilitation may be useful in a number of areas, both across departments or within a team when tackling organisational change.

A facilitator brings structure and process so that groups are able to function effectively and make high quality decisions. Their goal is to support others as they pursue their objectives. This can be short, sharp meetings, longer interventions or a series of meetings designed to take a project forward.

Why choose a facilitator?

A meeting chair would direct a meeting, decide on content, create and impose rules on the group, make decisions and follow a meeting agenda (See Leading and Chairing Meetings Workshop for skill development). A facilitator would, by contrast, guide the meeting. Acting neutrally and focusing on process, the facilitator seeks participation, helps the group make decisions and would tend to have structure within agenda items.

Where might I use it?

  • A facilitator might support a critical project that needs implementing over several weeks or months where an independent facilitator can guide and help the disparate team focus and achieve more than an internal project manager
  • Working collaboratively with other departments to achieve some shared goals but want the discussion to be very equal and avoid 'turf wars'?
  • You've come to an end of your project and want the project team to review what went well and what could have gone better
  • Are you looking at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operating systems, processes or way of working?
  • Idea generation, Research collaboration or Vision creation

Facilitation specialism

Typically, the facilitator will be skillful at setting a structure, using a range of techniques, interventions and methodologies, managing conflict, enabling decision making and ensuring appropriate actions are agreed and followed up.

All the facilitators in the facilitation pool, made up from staff across the University, are equipped to use these skills. Additionally, across the university there are facilitators with experience and knowledge around the following areas:

People and Organisational Development (POD)

Bespoke team training and diagnostics and change management facilitation

  • Delivery of workshop for whole team
  • Team building using diagnostics eg TMSDI, MBTI
  • Event to help the team move successfully through a change initiative

Please note People and Organisational Development are currently only prioritising bespoke programmes which are aligned to organisational strategy.

Enterprise Project team

Process improvement facilitation

  • Process change projects
  • Efficiency and effectiveness

Research Development team

Research facilitation

  • Research Strategy Development
  • Research idea development
  • Research collaboration events

Request a facilitator

Complete our enquiry form and we'll be in touch to discuss your needs further.