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Facilitation Skills Every Facilitator Needs - HRDQ

Facilitation Skills Every Facilitator Needs

Companies today recognize the importance of proper training, and they look to skilled trainers to lead the team to success. But without the right skills, trainers can fail. Don’t let this happen to your organization. Here are some essential facilitation skills that every facilitator needs in order to create a productive training experience.

The Challenge of Facilitation

Sometimes, being a trainer isn’t easy. Facilitating a learning program isn’t just handing out forms and collecting responses. It requires the trainer to provide knowledge and insight for different types of learners. They are responsible for ensuring that the learning materials are absorbed and participants walk away with a clear understanding of the topic.

The facilitator must accomplish many tasks during a training session. They are responsible for a variety of duties, including:

  • Helping team members with different learning styles understand the common objectives of the training program
  • Suggesting and structuring appropriate and on-topic conversations
  • Using group facilitation techniques to keep discussions relevant and productive
  • Foster participation and inspire the team to contribute their different ideas and perspectives
  • Create an inclusive environment where all individuals feel valued and accepted

A facilitator's guide to a successful training session: Facilitator's Toolkit

Essential Facilitation Skills

To overcome these challenges and provide a successful training experience, facilitators should work to build the following facilitation skills:

Superior Communication Skills

The most important skill for a trainer—and everyone in the workplace—is excellent communication skills. If you can’t get your point across to people, they won’t end up learning anything. You should provide learners with clear guidelines and instructions throughout the session. Use your verbal skills to facilitate conversations and provide anecdotes that they can use to remember key lessons. Make sure that the environment is open so the learners feel comfortable communicating with you as well.

A Good Grasp on Group Dynamics

The trainer is in charge of the learning environment, so they should have a good grasp on the group dynamics and maintain a positive atmosphere. You should create an inclusive environment where participants can ask questions and share knowledge without the fear of conflict. Understand how a group can have many different kinds of people with distinctive personalities, and focus on the need for coming together for the good of the team.

Coaching and developing interpersonal relationships within a group go hand in hand: What's My Coaching Style

Empathy and Understanding

A trainer who barks orders at their students won’t get participant buy-in. A good trainer must have empathy and understanding while they are teaching. If they can relate to and understand their learners, they will be able to get the knowledge through to them more easily. Every person is unique and may have different learning needs. If a trainer is sensitive to their needs, they will be able to work better with them.

Active Listening Skills

Good trainers don’t just read lessons off a piece of paper with no concern for their learners. You should have good listening skills that are required to really hear what each student needs. Being able to not only absorb what the student is saying but also what they are NOT saying is critical. Read between the lines and pay attention to social cues to see how students are learning and to determine how you can help them. If anyone needs help or asks questions, pay attention to their requests and listen well.

Conflict Management Abilities

Every group has the potential for conflict. Gathering people with different backgrounds and experiences can lead to a difference in opinion, especially in an environment where they are encouraged to speak up and share thoughts. As a leader and trainer, you must be able to mitigate problems and issues when they arise. If an argument or disagreement comes up, listen to both sides and try to find a solution that works for everyone.

Identify and improve on key problem-solving skills: Conflict Strategies Inventory

Consensus-Building Skills

In the workplace, coming to a consensus is important. Key stakeholders must agree in order for projects to move forward. During a training session, you must also be able to encourage consensus building for the team to complete the program. During a training game, participants must work together as they discover and practice critical group-process skills like team planning, problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution.

The Takeaway: How to Improve on These Skills

The facilitation skills above are necessary for a facilitator to run an effective training program. But working on these skills can be daunting and tiring. Fortunately, help is available. You can learn how to become a more skilled facilitator with the right tools.

HRDQ’s Facilitator’s Toolkit can help you gain a full understanding of what it takes to run a successful training session. You can check out more facilitation tools and products here. If you are a coach or manager, Coaching Skills Inventory is an assessment that measures your ability to conduct effective coaching meetings and build productive relationships with employees. With the right skillset, you will be fully equipped to lead your team to success.

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.