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Every organization needs an effective and interactive means of exploring organizational learning, growth and business change/evolution. Your business likely has a selection of skilled internal team members that can facilitate learning and change sessions. Relying only on an internal team member has its limitations though.

An external facilitator, much like a management consultant or business coach, leans in from outside the organization. They offer a neutral viewpoint, foster expansive communication, and guide teams through discussions and problem-solving options.

While both roles aim to improve business processes, enhance team dynamics, and guide companies towards achieving their goals more effectively.

External facilitators can leverage a reservoir of diverse client engagements that can be of benefit to your organization’s experience and outcomes.

Understanding Facilitation

Facilitation is when an internal or external business professional – often with additional consulting and coaching expertise – guides your business through challenges and opportunities. Providing them with the support they need to meet their goals and objectives.

A facilitator’s role is to design a safe and collaborative environment that fosters open and honest communication. Creating respectful collaboration on a topic, situation, or expected outcome. Facilitators provide structure, organization, and insight to help organizations and teams gain new perspectives and break through barriers with creativity, productivity, and confidence.

With the support of a professional facilitator, your business gains a neutral and unbiased guide. Moving you, your people and your strategies and objectives forward.

With internal facilitation, a skilled member of your organization takes on a leadership role during collective team activities including workshops, meetings, or strategic planning sessions.

Internal facilitators may have limited experience with organizing, running, and documenting outcomes from group sessions. They may also possess bias as active and current members of the organization.  

On the other hand, external facilitators rely on their coaching and consulting expertise gained through the myriad of their career’s client engagements. Professional external facilitators foster a collaborative atmosphere through active listening, adult education processes and engaging collaboration.

Maintaining a neutral position on organizational politics and relationship dynamics, external facilitators allow organizations a means to approach problem-solving, decision-making, and organizational change with a fresh, objective perspective on what is possible. 

Investing in an external facilitator like a business coaching and consulting services company can help your organization break through existing challenges to find new and worthwhile solutions. A senior leader of a non-profit organization shares their experience:

“Thank you so much for today’s meeting, and for your facilitation. It was absolutely what we needed, and we covered far more ground and reached far more significant conclusions than would have been possible without you. Thank you for the benefit of your skills and wisdom. We feel energized and much better prepared as we embark on our strategic planning process.”

Benefits of External Facilitation

One of the major advantages of hiring a business coach to facilitate for your business is that it allows all members of your organization to participate in team sessions and contribute their thoughts and ideas. Additional benefits of external facilitation include:

  • Neutral PositionExternal facilitators come to the table without pre-existing relationship biases or alliances within an organization. They are skilled at finding common ground and addressing conflicts through an objective lens.
  • Focus and Pacing.  Professional facilitators understand how to engage teams, refocus participants during discussions, and build consensus through patient and thoughtful questioning.
  • Broader Perspective.  Facilitators come with a wealth of knowledge, training, and experience which gives them the skill set to offer new points of view. A new perspective allows them to challenge conventional thinking, question existing business practices, and suggest innovative solutions.

Embracing a Co-Facilitator Approach

Co-facilitation combines the benefits of both internal and external facilitators. This collaborative approach allows the internal facilitator to provide valuable knowledge about the organization. While an external facilitator brings in their expertise and neutral perspective. 

Investing in external facilitation with storycoaching can be a game-changer for businesses and organizations looking to optimize their processes, enhance teamwork, and drive meaningful outcomes. The neutral position, expertise, fresh perspective, and psychological safety provided by skilled external facilitators create an environment where creativity and productivity flourish.

A senior leader of a non-profit shares how storycoaching’s external facilitation benefitted their organization:

“It was so lovely to meet you on Friday! I really enjoyed our session, I found it not only beneficial to the organization as a whole, but a wonderful learning experience for me personally. I feel like it was one of the most productive 3 hours in my time at the Foundation and that’s largely thanks to your approach.”

Are you ready to invest in external facilitation? Connect with me today to learn how my Business Coaching and Consulting Services can lead conversation, spur collective ideas, and foster communication and lasting change within your organization.

Updated January 22, 2024

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