Group Facilitation is the art of making things easier for groups. By managing the process and structure of complex problem-solving sessions, a facilitator allows groups to focus and get clearer on the group/team challenges. A skillful meeting facilitator can focus key meetings and energize participants while freeing the meeting leader to participate fully in the subject matter.
A facilitator who is independent from the department also brings a sense of impartiality that helps when groups are dealing with difficult decisions.
Why use group facilitation?
When an Ombudsperson facilitates groups dealing with difficult or controversial issues, it brings a sense of impartiality that helps the communication process. The facilitator can concentrate on the process while participants (including the management) are free to focus on the content. The facilitator also provides summaries of the discussions to the participants. The Office of the Ombudsperson protects the confidentiality of the contents of the discussion.
Steps for Facilitation
The group’s leadership contacts the Office of the Ombudsperson to discuss the project and desired outcome.
The Office of the Ombudsperson assists the leader(s) in identifying the stakeholders who need to participate in the facilitation process.
An Ombudsperson, as facilitator, individually meets with participants to better understand the issues and needs.
The facilitator convenes a meeting of all participants and helps the group establish ground rules for how the facilitation will be conducted.
The facilitator leads the group through the process and keeps track of the decisions the group makes during the process and at the end of the process.