Facilitation is 'the art of making things easier'. Whether it's team building, strategic planning or trouble-shooting, working with a skilled outsider offers a safe, generative space that results in better outcomes.
- Don't compromise- reach true consensus.
- Don't run everything yourself- co-create as equals.
- Don't impose vision and goals- generate them together.
And then watch quality, ownership, trust and morale grow.
Facilitation is not a widely understood resource. That is partly because it is so versatile. It is a generative, structured space that frees everyone to think their best thoughts. Think of it as a temporary burst of extra leadership capacity, or a temporary shared mental arena- like a pop-up virtual Big Top for your team to create, storm, play or learn in.
Here are some examples:
- Do you need a plan?
- Is there a gap between where you want your group to be, and where you are now?
- Is your vision vague?
- Do you dream bigger, but achieve smaller?
- Have you inherited a vision and mission that don’t fit the future that’s emerging?
- Does your team pull in diverging directions?
- Do you rarely (or never) get quality thinking time together?
- Is your ‘team’ really a set of under-connected individuals?
- Are there some who never participate?
- Do you always have to lead everything yourself?
I offer bespoke strategic or action planning days, team-building events or Awaydays to suit your needs. You co-design the event with me to ensure it suits your situation exactly. Then you can sit back, relax and participate fully, led by a neutral, friendly outside voice. And you keep any material generated, to build into your future.
My facilitation training dates from 2003 and 2004, with ICA:UK (the UK chapter of the international Institute of Cultural Affairs). I chose them because their methodology has grown out of a truly cross-sectoral and international experience base. Their methods and approach work as well with grassroots semi-literate communities as they do with senior management teams and political, public sector, charity and corporate environments. I also work according to the International Association of Facilitators Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.
Facilitation is both art and science. My facilitation is unusual in drawing on all I have gained from coaching, training and management.
The shift from teacher to trainer is something like a change of mindset from “convey the information” to “embed the learning”.
The shift from trainer to facilitator is another, deeper shift of mindset from “embed the learning” to “enable the growth”.
I have been enriched by working with great diversity: from leadership teams to remote village communities, in Europe, South America and the Far East. I work with corporates, charities, religious communities and educational bodies.
I am 100% in service of the group. All facilitators should be- but the group senses whether this is true or not, and it makes the profoundest difference. Clients consistently comment on the safety of the space I create, the skill with which I encourage and handle diverse perspectives, and the quality of the outcomes we co-create. My depth of listening, and profound respect for the individuals and the wisdom of the group, enable me to facilitate with authenticity, insight, freedom and warmth.
- Save the Children Preferred Supplier
- Walsingham Community
- Jesuit Refugee Service
- Mirfield Trinity Methodist
- Jesuits in Britain
- Partners in Mission (UK, Holland, Ireland & Belgium joint initiative)
- Aishalton Village Council
- Jesuit Volunteer Community
"Sarah, you were so extraordinary, just don’t know how to express my feelings, you did so much for my village I guess I just don’t know how much to thank you. You will always be in our memories as long as ever."
Toshao Hildebrand James, Aishalton Village
I have worked with Sarah for 15 years, both working alongside her and being trained by her. She is an exceptionally talented trainer and facilitator who works to ensure that the needs of the wider group are met and honoured throughout the process. She has a real gift for listening to what is being said, as well as being inferred, by individuals in a group. She creates enjoyable, inclusive and creative environments where everybody feels able to succeed and where people leave sessions feeling enlivened and motivated to make the changes that they want to see happen.
Kate Goodrich - Business Director, Foundation for Peace
"I have been fortunate to have been involved in leadership courses where Sarah has been trainer, and planning meetings that she has facilitated. I have learnt a lot from watching how she works, her meticulous preparation, an ability to sense the energy levels in a group and respond creatively and appropriately to that. I have also learnt a lot from her ability to make everyone feel included and valued even though different members of the group might be engaging or contributing at different levels."
Tim Byron SJ - Director, Manchester University Chaplaincy
Sarah is by far one of the best workshop design and facilitators I’ve worked with, and we will definitely be looking to engage with her again in the future.
I recently engaged Sarah to partner with me in designing and delivering a full day Leadership Workshop, mainly focused on Mindset, EQ, Situational Leadership and Coaching. In the lead up to the workshop she was instrumental in the design. She regularly challenged assumption I had as the internal L&D Manager, she brought new ideas or concepts to the table and ensured we were totally aligned on what our end goals were to get out of the day.
And only more impressive was her facilitation on the day. She was able to stay with the agenda for the day while regularly suggesting ad hoc adjustments and improvements to keep us aligned to the greater goals. She challenged the participants while maintaining an air of compassion and expertise. She was able to read the room and bring a needed expertise and credibility to the session.
Jessica Critchlow - L&D Manager, Neoworks
Sarah is a thoughtful and skilled facilitator who has an extraordinary capacity for listening into the sense and sensibility of the group, helping participant members discover the next natural step or measure for themselves.
She brings herself to the work of consultation and facilitation with an elegant balance of humility and very intelligent resourcefulness. As a result, she is able to assist the organization in finding its own way forward.
David C. McCallum - Leadership specialist & Vice President, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York
"Sarah is an excellent facilitator who I've worked with delivering both leadership workshops and management training. Her patient coaching approach gets the best out of people and her insights add tremendous value to any learning environment."
Megan Price - Senior Learning Advisor, Cheshire Datasystems
"Sarah, you were inspirational. The people who were there at the Reflection Day are still buzzing about how great it was and how much they enjoyed it."
Rev Alison Crookes, Trinity Methodist Mirfield