Skip to main content

Who we are

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) is a participatory organisation with members in more than 65 countries. As a professional association, we set internationally accepted industry standards, provide accreditation, support a community of practice, advocate and educate on the power of facilitation and embrace the diversity of facilitators.

Global Flipchart



May 2016
| Issue #3

Chair's Corner: Cycling and Comfort Zones

Hello again!

Some of you may know that I am an avid cyclist. My weekly regime of clocking 180 to 200 km weekly helps with general good health and mental focus. My current project is putting together a new rig and am now assembling the different components that will become critical to its performance. I am also venturing into bike repair and assembly.

Getting on a saddle and pedalling off is instinctive; the body’s muscle memory kicks in and that’s why we never ever forget how to ride a bicycle even after years of not cycling. On the other hand, bike assembly and repair is a totally new thing for this non-mechanical brain of mine. It is a veritable leap out of past comfort zones. Tools, grease, and getting the right order of how parts should fit become a new vocabulary. Listening out for creaks and clinks become a new sensitivity. I begin to realise that the learning comes in a series of starts and stops, but really it comes with wanting to try something different and stepping out of my comfort zone and confront my conscious (things I didn’t know) and unconscious (things I didn’t know that I didn’t know) incompetence.

Stretching our comfort zones as an international organisation

Some weeks ago, my Board colleague Hector Villareal Lozoya, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, plus Barbara King and their organising team put together a great IAF Conference in Trinidad and Tobago. Congratulations to all involved! For all intents and purposes, the conference content was solid and I am sure both delegates and conference team took much learning from their experiences.

Members keep telling us that conferences are really important in bringing out the ‘international‘ aspect of membership in the association. Personally, since 2009 when I first became a member, I have always found IAF conferences to be chock-full of learning and networking opportunities. Unfortunately despite sufficient marketing and a good programme, members from neighbouring regions did not figure highly in terms of registrations in Trinidad. 

In many places, there is considerable excitement and new learning that is happening at the association’s stretch zones. For instance, at this year’s board meeting in Mexico City, the connection event with local facilitators was well-attended who were deeply curious to find out more about the association.

As the world gets more and more connected, and where cultures nudge and bump into each other, how might professional facilitators and the IAF better harness opportunities like our regional conferences to develop new vocabularies, new sensitivities and perspectives to be effective in the work we need to do? What are the comfort zones that we need to step out of to really make the most of our membership in the association?

Noel E K Tan, CPF
IAF Chair, 2016-2017