In today’s ever-increasing demand to participate in meetings both online and offline the need for a facilitator has evolved into that of a ninja – a master of agile guidance, stealthy problem-solving, and someone comfortable holding either a physical or digital space with any type of group.
Just as a ninja combines physical prowess with mental acuity, today’s facilitator needs to blend interpersonal finesse with strategic insight and be a student of group psychology.
But what does it take to become a ninja facilitator? Is this art reserved for a chosen few, or can anyone harness its power? Let’s dig into the secrets of the ninja facilitator and explore how anyone with determination and practice can rise to the challenge.
Ninja Facilitation skills
Set the Tone: First, get people comfortable in the space be that digital or physical. Give people time upfront to connect with one another, with you as their guide and with the purpose. Creating the right environment to bring their best thinking and be comfortable sharing is essential to a successful outcome.
Ready for anything: Like a ninja observing their surroundings, a facilitator keenly observes group dynamics, unspoken cues, and individual behaviors. This silent observation informs your approach and guides how and what you need to do to get the best from the group. Just as ninjas adjust to changing circumstances, facilitators pivot their strategies to suit the evolving needs of the group. This adaptability is key to maintaining control while allowing space for creativity.
Precision in Communication: Also, a ninja facilitator communicates with purpose and precision. Choose your words carefully to maintain clarity, guide discussions, and hear everyone’s voice. To do this, a Ninja facilitators are great listeners. Not only hearing what’s being said but also grasping the underlying emotions and concerns. Ninja facilitators can ask insightful, probing questions, reframe them and ask the challenging questions that only a neutral, impartial guide can.
Conflict Transformation: Similar to a ninja’s ability to defuse tense situations, a facilitator adeptly navigates conflicts. A ninja facilitator doesn’t shy away from conflict. In fact, they have an armoury of strategies that sees them turn potential roadblocks into opportunities for growth and deeper understanding.
Mindful Empathy: Then, the ninja facilitator practices empathetic listening, understanding the emotional undercurrents beneath participants’ statements. This skill fosters a safe space for open expression. Welcome the unique viewpoints of each participant so that you foster an inclusive atmosphere and encourage open dialogue.
Strategic Time Management: Moreover, just as a ninja times their movements to perfection, a facilitator manages time judiciously, ensures discussions stay on track and meet objectives . A ninja facilitator allows space for deep discussions and can comfortably move the conversation along to keep things on track. They are wedded to the outcome rather than a fixed time slot for each conversation.
How to become a ninja facilitator?
The path to becoming a ninja facilitator is open to all who dare to embark on the journey. While some people have a natural aptitude, the art of facilitation can be learned and honed through dedicated practice.
Learning: First, seek out facilitation workshops and courses. I run a Facilitation Skills course (online and in person). And there are lots of great courses you can tap into LinkedIn Learning. These types of training provide valuable tools, techniques, and frameworks that can transform your facilitation skills.
Experience: Practice, practice, practice! Offer to facilitate discussions, lead meetings, and guide workshops. Every experience refines your skills and builds your confidence.
Feedback: Then, just as a ninja refines their techniques through constructive feedback, embrace feedback from peers and participants. Continuous improvement is the path to mastery.
Mentor: Besides, seek out facilitators who you respect and admire and ask them to be a mentor to you. I offer a facilitation mentor service (4 x 1 hr sessions) which will help you (in practical ways) plan, prepare and debrief. This mentoring service enables you to continuously learn and grow with a seasoned facilitation ninja!
Mindset: Also, adopt the mindset of a ninja – agile, adaptable, and open to growth. Above all, facilitation is about facilitating others’ success, not showcasing your own expertise.
I believe that anyone can embark on the journey of becoming a ninja facilitator. So, are you ready to embrace the way of the ninja and guide teams to new heights of collective achievement? The journey awaits, and your potential is boundless.
Get in touch if you are interested in a facilitation training programme or want to tap into our experienced facilitation mentors.