Facilitation Skills Coming into the Spotlight

As a HR and Learning & Development professional, it is truly heartening to hear that globally, spending on learning and development is on the increase and that organisations are putting more energy into this key area that can be such a great differentiator when it comes to attracting the right talent.

So, is there a great rush of L&D Consultants and freelancers returning to in-house teams? Not quite yet. What we see in our world is often HR leaders looking to make better use of the resources they already have internally. This means a great opportunity to step into a new dynamic in your career if you are ready for the challenge.

What we see in our clients is that technical experts or those that show some level of aptitude to teaching or coaching are often selected to be upskilled, either through necessity or through a genuine desire to promote from within. Either way, it is a great opportunity for those that have the potential.

Facilitating learning, seeing people engaging in workshops or personal and professional development are truly rewarding aspects of this type of work. You also get to see your business in a new light as you liaise with different stakeholders, or with familiar ones, but in a new way.

It all sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, it is, but there are still some aspects to consider carefully before stepping up to this field or offering the opportunity to your workforce:

  • The fine balance of technical skill and facilitation skill

Invariably, the people put forward for training roles internally are technical experts. This is excellent for the credibility of the role, but often is not an indicator of the ability to engage a group in an effective learning program. Sometimes quite the opposite. So, remember that there is always a role for someone who is a strong facilitator, even if they don’t always possess a detailed knowledge – that is why we have subject matter experts!

Understanding a system or a process often takes a different set of skills and capacity than understanding, and delivering on, the learning needs of an individual or group. This takes training, practice and mentoring to get used to the process, so make sure you or your people are seeking out expert help in facilitation skills.

  • We are here for outcomes

The big benefit of external facilitators is that they live and die by whether or not the outcome was achieved in the training. I have seen internal training groups struggle to prove an ROI on their efforts because they are often not held to the same standard as externals. If you are building a training team, keep this in mind. If you are thinking of building your skills in facilitation, remember the focus is always on outcomes and you will have a long and successful career!

  • Inspire learning

When people start in L&D, especially from a technical role, there is a wholesome drive to share their information with others. With limited resources (even if they are growing), the aim for the organisation is often not to be the font of all wisdom, but often it is about giving people a reason or a path to follow to discover things for themselves. Learning can happen in so many ways and from many different experiences, so focus on the learner and their motivations – whether you are looking to be a facilitator or is you are building a facilitation team in-house

So, picking up facilitation skills will be a benefit to you on your career path, no matter where that path takes you. If, on the other hand, you are looking to bring these skills in-house, choosing the right partner to help you upskill will make all of the difference.

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