What do facilitators do?
Facilitators fill an impartial role in helping groups become more effective. They set aside their personal opinions and support a group in making its own choices. Facilitators act as process guides and create a balance between ensuring individual participation and producing meaningful results.
The IAF encourages facilitators to plan appropriate group processes, create and sustain a participatory environment and guide a group to appropriate and useful outcomes. A good facilitator also creates collaborative relationships with their clients, build and maintains their professional knowledge and models a positive and professional attitude.
Taken together, these skills, knowledge, and behaviours form the IAF Core Competencies for facilitation. These have been developed, researched, and refined through the collective wisdom of IAF members, some of whom are pioneers of process facilitation.
When to use a facilitator
Here are a few instances when the use of professional facilitation will produce better results.
- Important decisions need to be made
- The group is large, diverse, and/or in conflict
- The issues under discussion are complex and there is no one, clear “right answer”
- Successful implementation of a plan requires the informed consent and active support of key stakeholders
- There is a need to optimize the use of the group's time and energy
Often the following situations are instances when professional facilitation will prove invaluable:
- Strategic planning
- Internal project review and evaluation
- Conflict transformation
- Consultations with partners or diverse publics
- Trans-disciplinary collaboration
- Forum, conference or symposium
- Board meetings
- Staff meetings and retreats
- Local government or community meetings
Working with a CPF
The IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) is the professional designation for IAF members who demonstrate effective use of the IAF Core Competencies. The CPF designation is also linked to the IAF’s Statement of Values and Code of Ethics, a globally developed set of professional standards.
To obtain a CPF designation, facilitators undergo a thorough peer review and assessment of their knowledge and skills. The CPF is not connected to any particular training, philosophy, or approach to facilitation. It is the demonstration of effective facilitation know-how that matters.
For clients, working with a CPF provides an assurance that the facilitator has met the internationally recognised standard for effective facilitation of group processes. The credential is the leading indicator that a facilitator is competent in each of the IAF Core competencies.
The IAF maintains a directory of IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitators (CPF), searchable by IAF region and chapters.