How to Select a Skilled Facilitator
So, you are attending more and more networking meetings and they seem to be loosely run or generally disjointed.

Or, you find in your own business, team meetings seem to get out of hand. Does everyone talk at once? Is everyone out of sync with each other? Do you find it difficult to stay on task; stick to the agenda?

Or, have you been given the task of finding a facilitator for some upcoming meetings and you are not sure how to go about it. Don't panic – help is on the way!

The practice of facilitation has grown over the years so that today, you have a wide range of options in selecting someone to handle the job. Generally there are two schools of thought on who you should select. One school says the facilitator should know a great deal about your organization; the other that the facilitator can be much more objective if he or she knows little about the organization and its people. Both have merit.

Regardless of which approach you take, the following are some ideas on how you can find and select a facilitator, or if you need those skills inside your organization, train them using a basic facilitation primer I can make available to you.

If you want to retain a facilitator, a good place to start is with the International Association of Facilitators. You can find information at their website – . This site will give you a complete listing, by geography (country, state, etc.) of all their certified professional facilitators worldwide. It will also give you a lot of valuable information about the profession.

You can also find local facilitator organizations, such as the Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, (covering the great Washington , DC , Virginia and Maryland areas). The benefit of dealing with your local organization is that you can not only get local facilitation expertise, you can visit with those you are considering before actually contracting with them. There are other such local organizations across the country and internationally. You can contact the IAF for help finding them.

The Certified Professional Facilitator status gives you a high level of comfort that the person you select will have the skills necessary to do the job you need done. Those skills include a knowledge of facilitation techniques, respect for the client, excellent communications skills, and a high standard of professional ethics.
When selecting a facilitator, you should look for the following factors:
Does the candidate hold professional certification?
• Does he or she have a current and active facilitation practice?
• Can the candidate provide references that are current and deal specifically with certification?
• Will the candidate provide you with a current bio?
• Can the candidate demonstrate facilitation experience in a variety of organizational settings?
• Is the candidate willing to meet, either in person or via telephone, to discuss the job prior to signing a facilitation agreement?
• Is the candidate willing to carry out the facilitation assignment from your perspective and needs, as long as his or her ethical standards are maintained?
• Can the candidate demonstrate excellent communications skills, especially including the ability to listen intently and accurately reflect back what you are saying?
• Does the candidate demonstrate a strong ‘can-do' attitude that will maximize effectiveness?
• If you need a candidate with strong knowledge of your organization and its culture, how will this be demonstrated?
• Is the candidate flexible in his or her fee structure, to take into account the situation your organization faces financially?
While there are many factors to consider, it is most important that you get someone who has strong attitude, skills and knowledge regarding facilitation. Getting someone who holds professional certification is the best place to start. It is also a good idea to start your discussions with a facilitator using Dynamic Destiny Partnerships GROW™ Model so both you and the facilitator are very clear on goals, roles, operating principles and the winning outcomes you expect.

To find out more, just give me a call at 828-295-3369 or visit , or

Don Treinen
Certified Professional Facilitator

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Treinen currently serves as a principal in Dynamic Destiny Partnerships, LLC (D2P). D2P is a woman-owned corporation and provides a range of services to women in business, to small businesses in general, to other non-business organizations, large and small. D2P also provides skilled facilitation services to various organizations, including business, labor, non-profit agencies, academia and governmental units.

Mr. Treinen is also co-owner and partner in the firm, Women’s Community, LLC ( Women’s Community provides a wide range of learning services to women experienced in business, to women just starting businesses, and to women transitioning in their careers.

Mr. Treinen's background, especially suited for the work of D2P, includes over thirty-five years experience in industrial relations using a ‘partnership model’ at the local, national and international levels. He has extensive experience in negotiations, all-win solutions development, conflict resolution and facilitation of individuals and groups.

Over the past several years Mr. Treinen has worked with business, labor and government representatives of the United Kingdom, the Pacific Rim, South America, Rumania, and Western Europe. His work involved issues related to workplace effectiveness, participative all-win relationships in the business world, and global competitive success.