Training for Facilitators

As organizations strive to get the most out of their current workforce and build the next generation of talent, it is increasingly important to have outstanding facilitators who can help employees and leaders excel with their current responsibilities while also being prepared for future opportunities. The most successful and competitive organizations know how important it is to be committed to ongoing facilitator training and development.

The Facilitation Skills for Trainers workshop provides people who deliver training or instruction with the tools and strategies they need to engage learners and maximize the effectiveness of their training programs. It is the ideal solution for training managers, subject-matter experts, new and/or experienced instructors, or anyone else in the organization who is involved in facilitating the learning and development of others and needs to have advanced facilitation skills.

The learning experience offered in Facilitation Skills for Trainers focuses on improving a facilitator’s ability to:

  • Evaluate training needs
  • Engage learners
  • Introduce concepts and skills
  • Support people in the development of critical skill sets
  • Assist participants with creating application plans that will ultimately lead to greater success on the job and drive results for the organization.

This program builds on the facilitator’s current skills and strengths and explores practical tools and techniques to address opportunities for improvement. It is designed to energize facilitators and help them discover strategies to make training programs more dynamic, interactive, and practical for their audiences.

Facilitator Training Objectives & Outcomes

Participants in the Facilitation Skills for Trainers workshop learn how to

  • Apply adult-learning principles to each training experience and create powerful learning tasks.
  • Connect with and respond to the needs of diverse learners (style, personality, culture, gender, management level, etc.).
  • Create energy and provide interactive, relevant, and experiential learning experiences.
  • Read and diagnose the audience’s needs and adjust their approach to facilitation accordingly.
  • Present training content in a way that is interesting and relevant for trainees.
  • Conduct an insightful debriefing of an assignment, exercise, case study, etc.
  • Stimulate dialogue and create conditions for high levels of participation from the training group, in instructor-led and e-learning settings.
  • Manage difficult participant behaviors and group dysfunction.
  • Help participants transfer and apply the skills, concepts, and knowledge to their work.

Our Approach To Facilitator Training

In the Facilitation Skills for Trainers workshop, we draw on our 40 years of experience in the learning and development industry as we help facilitators develop and hone their ability to be more effective in their roles and responsibilities. CMOE facilitators also use their expertise and experience to model and demonstrate the desired skills and techniques.

One of the hallmarks of the Facilitation Skills for Trainers workshop is its ability to help facilitators draw on their natural strengths and identify opportunities to build on their current approach in a way that is relevant to their unique facilitation style. Participants learn by practicing new skills during live or video-recorded simulations where facilitators showcase their skills in a genuine training experience. Through immediate feedback and review, participants develop the skills necessary to take their skills to the next level. Other exercises and design elements are built into the workshop to address the specific needs of the audience and to increase the facilitators’ focus and awareness of the things they need to be doing to ensure learning transfer and results in the organization.

“Good teachers never teach anything. What they do is create the conditions under which learning takes place.”

~ S.I. Hayakawa

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a training facilitator do?

A training facilitator creates a climate for learning and development and manages the process of helping people learn through discovery. They utilize adult-learning principles to achieve the desired outcomes and goals of the training. An effective facilitator is able to establish an environment of inclusion, where learners can safely participate, share ideas, and develop knowledge or skills. Facilitators present content, lead discussions, and help learners identify how to apply knowledge, skills, and/or tools that can be sustained over time. Often, facilitators are subject-matter experts, but having expert knowledge of a topic isn’t required to be a highly effective facilitator.

What are the roles of a facilitator?

There are seven primary roles of a facilitator. However, roles can vary based on a particular training environment, training topics, audience needs, etc.

  1. Coordinator: Plan and prepare for the learning experience, create a positive learning environment, arrange logistics, provide training resources and tools, and manage time.
  2. Motivator: Help participants see how the subject and content is relevant, meaningful, and integral to their success so they are motivated to participate, learn, apply, and sustain the training. Reinforce and recognize effort, progress, and results.
  3. Presenter: Present content and information in a clear, compelling, and concise way.
  4. Guide: Lead people through learning tasks, skills practice, discussions, and introspection opportunities.
  5. Connector: Make connections between the content or skills and the situation in which they will use or apply the training.
  6. Questioner: Pose thoughtful and relevant questions to challenge participant thinking and spark group discussion. Carefully listen to participant responses, ideas, and perspectives.
  7. Coach: Reinforce and recognize effort, progress, and results and provide constructive feedback on strengths and opportunities for improvement.

What skills do you need to be a facilitator?

Successful facilitation is made up of many specific skills and competencies. Facilitators who want or need to develop their skills further can think about and practice each competency on its own or several at once. Some of the most important skills and competencies include the following:

  • Creates a positive and inclusive learning environment
  • Establishes ground rules and learning expectations
  • Clarifies the training purpose, process, and payoff
  • Establishes rapport and trust with learners
  • Uses adult-learning principles and a variety of training methodologies
  • Presents information in an articulate way
  • Connects and links skills
  • Actively listens to questions and responds to them appropriately
  • Facilitates and debriefs exercises, learning activities, skill-practice sessions, etc.
  • Provides support and feedback to learners
  • Ensures active participation from all learners
  • Manages difficult participants effectively
  • Facilitates self-discovery

What is expected from a facilitator?

When people attend a training session or program, they expect that the facilitator will have the qualities and abilities needed to make the experience worthwhile and value-added. People want facilitators who will use the training time wisely, establish relevance, and make the content understandable. People expect a facilitator to have strong self-awareness and the ability to build respectful relationships. Often, people presume that a facilitator will help them apply what they are learning and identify sustainability strategies. A facilitator who uses a variety of training methodologies and adapts to various learning styles is important to the adult learner.

What is the difference between an instructor and a facilitator?

Typically, an instructor is an expert on a particular subject or topic who has in-depth knowledge to share with the person or people they are instructing. Instructors drive the content and share specific information. Instructors answer questions based on their knowledge and experience.

In contrast, a facilitator is skilled in adult-learning theory and uses adult-learning methodology to help the participants drive the learning experience, with their support. They provide information and opportunities to reflect, discover, discuss, and apply. A facilitator engages participants, listens, and asks questions.

Is a facilitator a leader?

Some facilitators are leaders in the sense that they plan and lead formal training, learning experiences, problem-solving or planning sessions, workshops, programs, etc. But both formal and informal leaders can and should develop facilitation skills in order to more effectively present information, collaborate with their team, create synergy and inclusion, and manage effective meetings.

How do you practice facilitation skills?

In a well-designed facilitation-training program, such as CMOE’s Facilitation Skills for Trainers, participants are able to practice skills and receive immediate feedback on their facilitation abilities. The training should be tailored to the specific needs and skill level of the participant-facilitators and provide tools and techniques that will maximize their effectiveness. The facilitation skill-development opportunity should focus on the facilitator competencies that are most relevant to the participants’ work and the organization’s culture.

Facilitators can engage in self-development to practice and enhance their skills as well. To do so, they should identify one or two competencies or skills that they would like to improve on and focus their attention in these areas. They should also engage in as many facilitation opportunities as possible, seek feedback from participants or a trusted mentor, and self-reflect on how they applied the targeted facilitation skill, what worked or didn’t work, and how they might approach it differently next time.

Leaders who are interested in developing their ability to facilitate the work of their team can increase their competency in this area by participating in training specifically designed to address this need, such as CMOE’s Leading Groups to Solutions workshop.

Delivery Options

The Facilitation Skills for Trainers workshop is built around the client’s desired length of the training session, current skill level of the facilitators, and topics most relevant to the training being delivered in the organization. A typical program is one to two days in length and can be delivered in one full session or in modules.
We also offer Leading Groups to Solutions, a facilitation-skills workshop that provides a framework for leaders and others who lead the work of groups in an organization to develop the facilitation skills they need to help a team or reach its full potential, solve problems, and make decisions in a collaborative way.

Instructor-led training (delivered onsite by a CMOE subject matter expert/facilitator)
Digital learning program (self-paced or live)
Blended and layered solution (combining instructor-led training and digital learning)
Train the trainer services (certifying internal trainers in CMOE's world-class programs)
Curriculum integration (deliver the topic in conjunction with another topic or event or build it into a development curriculum)
4-16 hours (8 hours preferred) for instructor-led variable for digital learning

Contact a CMOE Client Services Specialist to discuss a targeted solution that is right for your organization.

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