The Loneliness of the Long Distance Facilitator

One of the great benefits of our Facilitation Network is the opportunity it gives us all to connect with our peers in what can, at times, be quite an isolating role. The Edinburgh Facilitation Network met for the fifth time on the 26th September, and once again, we had a fantastic meeting of those interested in and practising facilitation in public services.

This is very much a collaborative network that uses an open space approach, so that those who are practicing and learning about facilitation are both hosting and participating in sessions.

We covered a range of topics including mindfulness in facilitation; both in relation to how to incorporate some mindfulness practices into any events we are facilitating; and also the use of mindfulness for facilitators. There are some resources on mindfulness at the end of this post if you want to find out more.

We also had a wonderful graphic facilitation session from Emer O’Leary and a stimulating discussion around how to engage a large number of participants. Our discussions also touched on women in leadership roles and the isolation of the lone facilitator. Many thanks to everyone who hosted and contributed. We were delighted that so many people new to the network joined us and were so willing to share their experience and skills. Here’s what people valued most.

  • The opportunity to learn about a new skill or approach.
  • Hearing about people’s experiences of facilitation in a safe environment
  • The opportunity to be with other facilitators in a room. There was acknowledgement that virtual spaces have their place but there was much to be gained by being and practicing together. There was also the recognition that facilitation can be an isolating experience so there was real value in coming together , particularly for those who work alone.
  • This tapped in to a recognition of the importance of support and encouragement people felt they had received.
  • There was also a theme around being brave, taking risks, trying something new, keeping it fresh. This can be particularly important if you want to try out a new approach. The facilitation network can act as a ‘testing ground’, allowing you to gain practice and feedback before you use the approach in your work.

If you are interested in out Edinburgh Facilitators Network, you might also be interested in the following opportunities:

  • We are excited to announce that due to demand, there is now a Glasgow Facilitation Network with their first meeting due to take place on the 27th October 2017.
  • We are also exploring the possibilities of a Facilitation Network in the Highlands. If this is of interest to you please get in touch: Karen.lawson@gov.scot
  • The next Edinburgh Facilitation Network is on 7th February 2018 in Edinburgh, and will be part of the Fire Starter Festival – so please hold the date in your diary. If you are interested in finding out a little more about the Fire Starter Festival you may be interested in attending one of our upcoming information sessions.
  • In between sessions we have a LinkedIn Group where people can discuss facilitation and ask for and offer help.
  • The Facilitation Network was born out of a need to support facilitation in and across public services to help support our Pioneering Collaborative Leadership Programme. If you are interested in this work please contact Karen.

Mindfulness Resources

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