January 9, 2007

Want a Great Facilitator? Just Answer the Freakin' Questions...

Over the years as a practitioner and facilitator of Transformational Inquiry with The Work of Byron Katie, I've formed very definite opinions of what constitutes "good" facilitation. I thought I preferred experienced facilitators to newcomers...or the personality of one experienced facilitator to that of another. When I have swapped facilitation with a partner in the past, I have sometimes rather impatiently felt the need to direct his or her facilitation and to "salvage" the experience for myself as a client.

At the most recent School for The Work, staff and participants were invited to take part in an aftercare exercise, where, in order to keep The Work working in our lives, we rotated facilitation partners in seven four-day shifts after we returned home. Even though we had all been to the school and learned the same process, everyone (me
too) has their own way of asking the questions; Katie calls this our "fingerprint." All month, as I worked with different people, I watched my mind concoct its preferences and objections and make its comparisons: "He doesn't give me enough time." "She's doing therapy." "They should follow the facilitation guidelines as written." However, I soon realized that no matter what I thought, each partner was holding the perfect space for inquiry if only I did my part, which is simply to go within and answer the questions.

I'm not sure how to explain what happened except to say that in each case, as long as I was willing, mind always enlightened itself in the presence of apparent "other:" and it could not have been better if "they" had done it differently. It was as if different parts of the brain were stimulated by those different facilitation styles; I experienced deep eepiphanies and deep peace with each of my partners, without having to micro-manage them or myself.

I have a little sticky note over my desk that I glance at when I'm facilitating, which says "Ask the questions, hold the space." I could post another that says, "The space is held; answer the questions."

Thanks to all of my facilitators who so lovingly held the space.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

No comments: