• Guide or Guru

    tour-guide-5I recently attended a meeting of the local chapter of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) to learn some new tips & techniques that I could use with my facilitation clients.  The presenter talked about many facilitation principles and one that resonated with me was the idea that a facilitator should be the “guide on the side instead of the sage on the stage.”  I had never heard it phrased that way, but I realized that it is what I try to apply throughout all I do – whether it’s speaking to an audience, teaching a class or facilitating a client meeting.  I see my role like a tour guide – I have the knowledge about a topic that I want to share with the group, but I do that by leading the group along and allowing the ‘tour’ to see/experience/interact in their own time or on their own level.  As the guide I need to keep the group focused and on schedule, answering questions along the way but also allowing for time for them to roam. Allowing a group to interact, share ideas and learn from each other instead of just listening to me tell them what to do or how to experience it,  makes the exercise more valuable and meaningful– for all involved.

    Everyone learns differently – some of us need to see the information, others to hear it, and others to touch – but all of us can benefit from the opportunity to discover and apply the concepts whether on our own or with a group.  Ideas become more real and actionable when you work them out with some direction instead of just being told what & how to do something.  For example, I could draw you a diagram or tell you how to tie your shoe, but until you actually practice it yourself you are not going to be able to do it. And, when you practice, you might find that a different method works for you, but still achieves the stated goal (there is really no one right way to tie a shoe!).  When the teacher, speaker or facilitator acts as a guide, sharing their wisdom, modeling behavior and allowing the audience to experiment and find the solution – that’s when the magic happens.

One Responseso far.

  1. Clare Hart says:

    Excellent points! Thanks for helping me see my role in a new light!