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Effective team leaders have strong facilitation skills. Facilitation skills require active listening, leadership and coaching abilities. These skills and abilities can be learned.


Aristotle once said “ we learn best by doing”. I agree, the best way to develop your facilitation skills is to practice. You need to practice your listening, leadership, and coaching skills.

Active listening skills:

This takes energy. When you facilitate a team you need to practice the 80/20 rule. Listen 80 % and talk 20 % of the time. One big mistake facilitator’s make is they to talk to much. You need to listen more, and talk less. Here are some keys to active listening: Make eye contact,Use silence, Express body language, nodding your head, smile, Probe: ask who? Why? Where? When? And How? Reword or paraphrase the message back to the team,

You can write down the key points down on the white board, flip chart, or blackboard. This is key to debrief the team with their ideas.

Develop leadership skill:

Praise in public and reprimand in private Plan an agenda and keep the team on task. Develop a mission statement, and the keep the team purpose driven. Allow change and be flexible. Use an open door policy. Be assertive when necessary. Promote life long learning and improvement. Keep a positive attitude. Treat each team member with respect. Practice the Golden Rule; treat others, as they way they want to be treated. Establish ground rules; I use in my classroom; “ One person talks at a time.”

Coaching skills:

Effective facilitators were many different hats. The coaching is very important to teambuilding. Have you been on a good team in sports? Business? School? Or service organization? What way the coach like? What makes an effective coach? How did this coach motivate his or her team? An effective coach needs to establish SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely (deadlines)

Effective coaches let their teams practice. A facilitator teaches, motivates, leads, advises, motivates, and encourages. These three links can provide you with more information about Facilitation:

The Facilitator's Toolkit

So you've been asked to facilitate a training session, but you don't know where to start? Reach for The Facilitator's Toolkit! This collection of over 40 tools, discussions, and case studies is the perfect resource for inexperienced facilitators or employees who are being asked to put together or facilitate a training session.
Straightforward and practical, The Facilitator's Toolkit is divided into 3 sections:

Part I: Facilitation

Part I answers the question "What is a Facilitator?" and identifies what facilitators are not. It also discusses the different styles available to facilitators as well as the basic skills necessary for effective facilitation - listening and questioning.

Part II: The Toolkit

The Toolkit contains over 40 techniques and approaches ("Tools") facilitators can use to put together a successful learning experience from start to finish. Part II includes Organizing Tools, Tools for Diagnosis and Discussion, Deciding Tools, Tools for Planning, and Tools to Deal with Problems and Sabotage. With experience, facilitators will be able to choose and adapt the Tools they need to meet their training objectives.
Part III: The Toolkit in Action

See how to put the toolkit into action to prepare for and design workshops in Part III. This section also includes three cases studies as examples of how the toolkit was used successfully.
Click here to visit HRDQ

Basic Facilitation Primer

Mind tools: Facilitation

Developing Facilitation Skills

Processing Team Building Initiatives in 5 Questions:

5 Questions for Processing Team Building Activities;

1) Did you notice…..?
by opening with a closed ended question you give the group a common starting point, this opening question will set the tone, if possible keep it a positive observation.

As a facilitator take special notice to what is happening, this is challenging and takes practice. Pay attention to the power dynamics, who is taking the lead and who is following, watch body language active and inactive movements, additionally focus on how topics are being addressed and spoken about the tonal culture of a group will give you some great starting points.

2) Why did that happen? or What factors led to that happening? or How does something like that happen? all variations on the why did the 1st question that was noticed happen. Allow group members to discuss keep them at the current position, DO NOT GET AHEAD keep the focus on why that happened in that activity. Allow what you feel is sufficient amount of time, when the energy drops and the group is silent for ~45 seconds move on…

3) Does that happen in life? or Does that happen in the office, classroom, playing field, team meetings? insert proper context to question based upon who you are working with. Returning to a closed ended question will again give the group a common concept to think about. At this point you are transferring the program to their lives moving into the conceptual concrete of the learning.

4) Why does that happen? or What factors lead to that happening? or How does that happen in office, classroom, life, etc…? Now returning to an open ended question…facilitating the group to a convergent thought of the activity in a context of their lives and workplaces.

5) How can we apply this? At this point challenge the group to find the connections and develop some action plans on learning and transference of gained skills, techniques and behaviors can return to work with them.

Michael Cardus

Idea from: Open to Outcome (Jacobson & Ruddy 2004)

More teambuilding ideas : Teamwork Motivation Coaching Games Icebreakers

Team conflict assessment

TeamConflict Assessment

Team conflict is one outcome of team organization that is practically inevitable. When we consult with team-based organizations, one of the most frequent requests we receive is for help in dealing with team conflict. People see conflict as a barrier to productivity. We take the point of view, however, that team conflict is a potential promoter of productivity. The effects of team conflict are dependent on the way team members handle it. If team members can get a firm grasp of what behaviors turn conflict into a plus, they will be well on their way to using their diversity to their advantage. TeamConflict is designed to give team members insights into how their behaviors determine the outcome of conflict and how they can change those behaviors to be more productive. Development Over the past few years, we have developed a series of tools designed to allow teams to fully discuss small slices of their life together. These tools have included topics such as communication, team roles, and accountability. Conflict within teams is another slice -- and it is a big one. We felt the need to produce a tool for discussing team conflict because it is an issue that continually surfaces in discussions with team members. Our starting point was to question how team conflict differed from other types of conflict. We conducted a literature search on team conflict and found substantial differences. We then developed an instrument that reflected the most important aspects of handling team conflict. We ran several groups through several versions of the tool as it was refined. In addition, we asked customers who had teams in conflict to review TeamConflict for us. Their comments, in conjunction with the experiences of our groups, allowed us to produce the final version of TeamConflict. Administering TeamConflict

Included in the instrument booklet is all the information needed for scoring, interpreting results, and preparing plans for change. It is possible, therefore, for a group of respondents to use these learning instruments without a professional facilitator. We do, however, strongly believe that a trained facilitator greatly enhances the learning experience for participants. Moreover, when exchange of feedback on a sensitive issue is part of the exercise, as it is in TeamConflict, a trained facilitator ensures that the process will be productive.

Discover more about Team Conflict assessment. Click on HRDQ and then go to teams:


Research shows that people who have a high level of Emotional Intelligence are stronger leaders, better decision makers, foster better relationships, and increase team efficiency. But what is Emotional Intelligence, and is it a skill that can be learned and developed? We recently interviewed Dr. Barbara A. Kerr, author of Creating An Emotionally Intelligent World, the new and exciting computer-based training game for teams, about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in today's organizations.

Click on the HRDQ box to read the interview with Dr. Kerr, author of Creating an Emotionally Intelligent World.

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