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Reflections on The Facilitator as Leader, Catalyzer, and Healing Activator with Molly Sturges

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

On the last day of our MACL Residency week, we had the honor to hear and learn from composer, teacher, and facilitator, Molly Sturges, on the art and role of facilitation.


Towards the end of our session, she asked us to reflect on five questions on the practice of facilitation and how we, as emerging relational leaders, might bring the practice of relational leadership into our ongoing facilitation practices.


What world are you creating and how is this expressed in how you convene and guide others?


I try to collaborate at all times with partners, friends, coworkers, and strangers. I seek to find balance in attuning to my own needs while creating space for others to share their own. Knowing that new information is constantly being taken in that may change mine or another person’s needs, I check in regularly to make sure the group's collective attunement has not shifted.


What are a few examples of facilitated spaces you have been in that did not feel comfortable, safe, successful and/or meaningful and why?


A challenge I have in facilitated spaces depends on the subject area, the number of people involved, and the amount of context given. When the amount of context doesn’t provide a clear enough framework for the number of people to probe into the topic, the experience falls flat and an opportunity is missed.


What are a few examples of facilitated spaces you have been in that did feel comfortable, safe, successful and/or meaningful and why?


This week has had many great examples of facilitated spaces. The thematic through line of success for me is the allocation of time and space for slowing down to genuinely consider the elements presented and shared.


Reflect upon yourself as a facilitator in a few different scenarios. What are some of your habits, tendencies, and patterns? What are your learning edges?


I tend to recoil or close off in spaces where I am asked to be vulnerable or share with people I don’t know very well or have time to get to know better and build trust. I end up sharing something that speaks to the spirit of the session, but without the space, time and trust, it feels phony to me and leaves the group feeling awkward without any chance for resolution.


What do you most want support with? What are some of your active inquiries related to this topic?


How do I create clear parameters and context that allow participants to connect to the topic in a meaningful way when time and space is limited? What size of breakout or small group has the highest likelihood for deep engagement of the topic? How can I help guide the participants into groups that will have the highest chance at creating deep engagement?

 

In addition to these questions, Molly also asked us to consider the following list of questions and themes that might emerge in the process of facilitation.


Questions & Themes:

Naming the BS in the room.

How do I work with conflict?

How do I build an inner foundation in myself that is steady in facilitation?

How do I nurture co-creatorship?

How do I take responsibility for my own energetic and nervous regulation?

How do I build capacity in my facilitation?

What do I do when I’ve lost my way?

What is really possible within this session?

How do I discern what is possible?

How do I trust what I know?

If I feel everything, how do I care for myself?

What is skillful disclosure?

What and when to share something personal?

How do I make and encourage good boundaries?

How do I hold myself accountable?

How do I gauge impact and/or success?

How do I navigate a group’s dynamic and energy?

How do I facilitate trauma infused spaces?

How am I facilitating really hard conversations?

What really works for me in Co-facilitation?

Do I have energy shifting practices that I’m comfortable using?

What is really sacred for me?

What is my power analysis and how do I map that into the world?

Where are there energy leaks and what do I do or how do I address it?

What replenishes me?

What is deep care for myself?

Who has my back when I fall?

How do I work in messiness and navigate in and out of it?

What is really being centered here?


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