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Global Flipchart


June 2017
| Issue #8

Your inner work is the real craft

Interview with Dagmar Stübel (by Anja Ebers)

I’ve known Dagmar Stübel for more than 10 years now and she constantly impresses me with her down-to-earth attitude and deep knowledge and experience. She’s a systemic consultant and organisational development coach. So when she told me that she was embarking on a year-long facilitation training programme as a participant I was surprised. Is there still something for her to learn? This is what I found out:

What made you embark on that course?

I wanted input from like-minded people and the opportunity to experience and practice an array of methods from master facilitators. Of course I know many methods, but I observe myself playing it safe and picking from my personal set of "classics". So I was hoping to get a safe place to practice moving out of my comfort zone.

Did it meet your expectations?

Absolutely! It felt like being at the right place with the right people at the perfect time. I could directly apply things I learned in one of my webinars. It helped to cultivate and deepen my understanding of my attitude towards groups. As a systemic coach I share facilitator-beliefs like "the knowledge is in the system" or "I'm only the companion; I'm helping the group to find out for themselves" or "everyone is doing her best; people want to take responsibility". Even though I share these beliefs, sometimes I cannot resist jumping in with a “solution” when the client asks for one. It was re-assuring to see master facilitators demonstrating these beliefs and I think it'll help me to better withstand a client’s urge for a non-participatory expert proposal in the future. I'll feel more comfortable as a companion.

So - what do you think is the craft of the facilitator, what makes the difference?

I think master facilitation only works with the right inner attitude. You can conduct a World Café and it can be very different depending on how the invitation is done, how you guide through the process. If you think people do their best to truly discuss the issue at hand, you need to trust the outcomes and the table hosts and show that in the way you introduce the session. If you don't, the outcomes will be very different and the whole format will feel like a chit-chat or networking event despite its power as a self-organised, highly participatory method for large groups. So cultivating those basic beliefs about people and systems you work with, practicing them in your own, inner work is the real craft that distinguishes the master from the apprentice.

More about Dagmar Stübel