Top positive review
Very insightful and useful
March 25, 2007
The skilled facilitator introduces a facilitation approach that is based on 4 core values: Valid information, Free and informed choice, internal commitment and compassion. Most of the work on the values are based on the work of Chris Argyris and his work on Organizational Learning.
One of the key-points in the book is that most people work with a unilateral control theory-in-use. This will automatically make their facilitation in-efficient eventhough they do not realize it. The skilled facilitator approach is to try to move away from this theory-in-use and move to a "mutual learning" theory-in-use in which the facilitator tries to maximize the learning for him and his participants. The four core values provide a basis for that. Next to the core values there are 9 ground rules which are concrete enough to really act upon.
Most of the book explains the ideas behind the core values and the ground rules and shows how the ground rules influence your facilitation. This is done with scenarios in which the author shows a normal approach and a skilled facilitator alternative approach.
The book ends with a wonderful chapter on "the facilitative leader", which shows how you can combine the skilled facilitator values and ground rules and your role as a leader within the organization. This chapter alone would have been worth the book already.
I finished the book fairly quick. It's easy to read and kept me interested at all times. It also kept me thinking about the content when I was not reading it. Changing a theory-in-use is a difficult thing, but thanks to this book, I've become more aware of my own approach to facilitation and have the ability to improve it.