How to Evaluate the Skills of a Facilitator?
Leading is about learning to be a facilitator – Ashif Shaikh
Ask yourself, when teams work very well together, what are the positive characteristics of the team leader? When teams are dysfunctional, and have poor outcomes, what skills of the leader need to be improved?
Let’s talk about facilitators
Giving proper feedback is a great way to help a colleague improve FMEA facilitation skills. Carefully listening to feedback from a colleague is an important way to improve one’s own FMEA facilitation skills. Both are aided by understanding and using facilitation quality objectives.
What are facilitation quality objectives?
Simply stated, facilitation quality objectives are observable quality characteristics of excellent facilitation. They are distilled from experience observing and evaluating facilitators from all levels of skill. They are meant to be a short list of the primary quality objectives, not an exhaustive list of traits.
How are quality objectives used?
Facilitation quality objectives can be used in different ways. Here are some examples:
- As part of a company program to evaluate and improve facilitator skills.
- As part of personal development to improve one’s personal facilitation skills.
- As part of FMEA facilitator training.
Examples of facilitation quality objectives
The following are examples of facilitation quality objectives. This is not meant to be a complete list; the examples are included for illustration purposes only. They can be modified or developed based on experience of what works and what does not work.
Example Quality Objective 1: Facilitator should keep the discussion moving efficiently through the FMEA and not allow distractions or side conversations.
Evaluation: Describe how well the facilitator kept the discussion on target.
Example Quality Objective 2: Facilitator should probe and encourage balanced input from all team members and not allow any one person to do most of the talking.
Evaluation: Describe how well the facilitator encouraged participation.
Example Quality Objective 3: Facilitator should ensure the team applies correct FMEA definitions and concepts and keep team from getting confused.
Evaluation: Describe how well the facilitator demonstrated knowledge of FMEA fundamentals.
Example Quality Objective 4: Facilitator should use different thought-starter questions and avoid merely asking for the column heading.
Evaluation: Describe how well the facilitator used thought-starter questions while leading the meeting.
Example Quality Objective 5: Facilitator should speak clearly, with sufficient volume, and show a high level of interest, so that everyone on the team understands and is able to participate in the meeting.
Evaluation: Describe how clearly the facilitator spoke and the level of interest that was maintained.
Example Quality Objective 6: Facilitator should keep the meeting moving as quickly as possible, spending more time on higher-risk issues and less time on lower-risk issues.
Evaluation: Describe the overall pace of the meeting and how well the facilitator kept it moving.
Additional evaluation criteria:
What did the facilitator do especially well? Please describe:
Did the facilitator encounter a specific challenge or difficulty that could be improved? Please describe:
Giving feedback in a positive way
Feedback needs to accurate, specific, positive, meaningful, instructive, and generate a willingness to improve. So, what if your evaluation of a colleague reveals problems or issues. How do you communicate your feedback in a positive way?
Example: Mary is evaluating Bill’s performance as an FMEA team leader. She notices that he allows one of the extroverts on the team to dominate the discussion, and the rest of the team stays quiet. At the end of the meeting, Mary wants to provide good feedback.
Wrong way: “Bill, you did a poor job of facilitating and allowed someone to dominate the meeting.”
Right way: “Bill, one of the team members did most of the talking; the results would be better if you encouraged others to contribute more. I suggest working on the skill of encouraging participation.”
Learning to be a good facilitator is not easy. One suggestion is to begin by co-facilitating with another more experienced facilitator, where you can each go back and forth leading the team. At the end of the meetings, ask your colleague to provide candid and specific feedback, and listen carefully.
This completes the FMEA Facilitation Series. The next series of articles will be on topics received from readers.
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