edward nelson

facilitating change                                                                      ...opportunities to discover the healthy side of conflict


Facilitation serves the needs of any group who are meeting with a common purpose, whether it be making a decision, solving a problem, or simply exchanging ideas and information.


Group facilitation works in a number of different settings. It is particularly successful with community groups struggling to meet differing needs within a community. It also supports businesses to address obstacles or find new ways of working toward their goals.



Facilitation is based on the premise that sharing differing perspectives allows new understandings to emerge. It recognises that the issues which divide people cannot be solved by staying within the same awareness that created these divisions. While these divisions can often be healthy, they can also be destructive if they cycle and perpetuate costly conflicts. Good facilitation not only recognises the value of each perspective but also creates spaces for new understandings and opportunities to arise. This happens when different and often opposing views interact in new and safe ways. It is the role of the facilitator to help create and support this process. See:http://www.cfor.info/facilitation.htm for more information.


While the facilitator is not the same as a group leader, there are many similarities. Each needs to know the background, obstacles and goals of the group while remaining open to new information and insights. The facilitator needs to research and explore the issues beforehand as well as during the meeting.

The facilitator respects the group’s autonomy and their own leadership and facilitation capacities. The main function is to help create a safe and welcoming space for constructive dialogue. This may require the facilitator to pick up and support challenging points of view as well as to notice shifts in understanding within the group. This often works best when there is open space for people to move around and share their perspectives from different locations in the room. The facilitator will often support this process by taking up positions in the room that need to be spoken about.


Edward Nelson ©2011  Email: info@edwardnelson.org  Phone: +44 (0) 7832 133 101