61 episodes

Facilitation: the art of enabling a group of people to achieve a common goal. IAF England Wales brings you a show by facilitators, for facilitators and anyone interested in using facilitation for change. We'll share guest stories, experiences and methods. Plus, we'll bring you up to date on what's happening at our Meetups.

Facilitation Stories IAF England Wales

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Facilitation: the art of enabling a group of people to achieve a common goal. IAF England Wales brings you a show by facilitators, for facilitators and anyone interested in using facilitation for change. We'll share guest stories, experiences and methods. Plus, we'll bring you up to date on what's happening at our Meetups.

    FS59 - A new Chapter

    FS59 - A new Chapter

    After over 100 episodes spanning 4 years, Pilar Orti is stepping down from her role as co-host on the Facilitation Stories podcast. In this special episode, Pilar joins regular co-hosts Helene Jewell and Nikki Wilson to reflect on her time on the show and what comes next.
    How It All Began
    The idea for Facilitation Stories emerged organically at an in-person meetup hosted by the England and Wales chapter of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) back in 2019. Pilar had given a talk on using podcasting to build community and connection in remote teams. Afterwards, some attendees suggested starting a podcast for the chapter. Pilar agreed to help get it off the ground.
    Along with Martin Gilbraith's support, Pilar worked with Helene and another co-host to produce the first 4 episodes and establish a regular cadence. After some early experimentation, they settled into releasing 1 episode per month. The organic, unstructured nature of those early days established the podcast's informal, conversational tone that continues today.
    Why Listeners Connect
    A big part of the podcast's appeal is its sense of community. As Pilar says, it feels like "listening to your friends." Most facilitation podcasts focus on tips, tutorials, and sales pitches. Facilitation Stories stands out for spotlighting members of the IAF England and Wales community sharing stories and learning from real life experiences.
    The hosts' genuine enthusiasm, warmth, and enjoyment comes across in every episode. According to Pilar, her favorite episodes are the unscripted conversations between two or more co-hosts. The rapport and natural interactions make listeners feel like they're right there in the room.
    Evolution of Facilitation During the Pandemic
    Pilar, Helene, and Nikki reflected on how facilitation has changed over the past few years, accelerated by the pandemic. Virtual facilitation has become more ubiquitous and accepted. More organizations recognize the need for facilitators to help guide productive online meetings and events. Hybrid events also present new challenges facilitators must adapt to.
    On a skills level, facilitators have had to expand their digital literacy and learn to facilitate exclusively through a screen. Soft skills like reading the virtual room, fostering connections, and keeping energy levels up become even more crucial.
    Co-facilitation partnerships have also blossomed as the complexity and demand increases. Facilitators increasingly team up with those outside the profession who bring complementary expertise.
    Key Takeaways
    A few key themes emerge from Pilar's time on Facilitation Stories:
    Start simple - When launching a new podcast, focus on consistent execution over production value. Get the first 10 episodes done to build momentum.
    Rotate roles - Swap hosting and production duties between team members. It keeps things dynamic while building everyone's skills.
    Personality matters - Let your authentic style and personality come through. This attracts the right listeners who connect with the content.
    Find your niche - Targeting a specific community makes it easier to grow an engaged audience, as demonstrated by the show's IAF focus.
    Value enjoyment - Do it because you find joy in the process and camaraderie. Passion shines through and makes it worthwhile.
    What Comes Next
    While sad to say goodbye to Facilitation Stories, Pilar is embarking on an exciting new chapter. She shared some of the creative pursuits and professional projects she'll be focusing on:
    Developing an audio course on asynchronous communication
    Exploring the comics medium and using visual storytelling
    Continuing fiction writing and other literary projects
    Building her podcasting expertise through new shows and helping others level up their podcasts
    Authoring books on topics like co-hosting or using Trello for podcast production
    After years of

    • 45 min
    FS58 Facilitating Dialogue Spaces with Jindy Mann

    FS58 Facilitating Dialogue Spaces with Jindy Mann

    Welcome to Facilitation Stories, brought to you by the England and Wales chapter of the International Association of Facilitators, also known as IAF. 
    In today’s episode Pilar Orti talks about running circles (spaces for dialogue) with Jindi Mann, founder and facilitator of Leader Brother Son and coach and organizational consultant at The Selfish Leader.
    Jindy recently ran the Men at Work survey as part of his work with Leader Brother Son, where he works with groups of men. The work has the potential of benefiting mental health and diversity. The Men at Work survey in particular, was a way for them to gather some insights into the male experience at work. In particular, it highlighed what men find hardest to talk about at work and what can help them show up more fully at work.
    To explain the roots of his work, Jindy talks about his early life, growing up in a British Indian family, his two business degrees and masculine cultures in the business world. He came to realize that he had an opportunity to work with this, as he was seeing the same thing repeatedly: the idea of taking up this role of "man" without interrogating what that means. Alongside some other coaches, Jindy started offering free online groups two and a half years ago. They’ll be starting their 10th group in early August. 
    There is a short application process for joining the groups. Intersted participants first make 
    an enquiry on the company's website, and this is followed by a short conversation to align expectations and understand the principles behind the sessions. There are typically, eight to twelve people in each group and at least two facilitators in each session.
    As the work comes from a personal space for Jindy, he often feels the tension between leading or guiding the group and just allowing the space to be what it is. Jindy and the other facilitators are not the ones who have the answers, they are not defining what a man should be or what Masculinity is, but they are holding the space by contributing and holding the principles and the shape of the conversation, rather than telling it where to go.
    Throughout this work, Jindy still feels that tension of when to take some sort of action as a facilitator or when to contribute or when to say anything. He uses the coaching acronym WAIT – why am I talking? 
    Jindy has started to refer to himself more explicitly as a "facilitator" when starting doing this work with men, but he has used facilitation in different ways in his consulting career. 
    As to how the work with the circles and his co-facilitation have evolved, Jendy shares that when the groups started they introduced specific topics for discussion, but soon they started to invite the group to say what it wanted to explore. He shares some of the theories and practises that have influenced him including the idea from Wilfred Bion of that there are thoughts present in the group, but they haven't yet found a thinker.
    It can sound almost mystical, but the unconscious is always present, is always active in a group. And collectively things can emerge in a group.
    (For more on this read any of Jung or Freud’s work and Experiences in Groups by Wilfred Bion.) 
    Jiindy has trained as a facilitator with Way of Council and in the conversation he shares his experience there and its overlap with psychodynamic theory. 
    Jindy talks about his co-facilitators Aaron, Mark and Russell and how they met, and how they all bring something slightly different and have different influences. But that they have an important chemistry between them.
    The team are not taking their work into organisations. The work here will be different as the dynamics in organisations will be different than in an open group. People there will have assumptions about each other, and there will already be a sense of status and hierarchy. 
    Jindy shares the pros and cons of doing these groups in person and online and about AI in coaching and wraps up with a couple of broad r

    • 28 min
    FS57 Open Source Facilitation with Perle Laouenan-Catchpole

    FS57 Open Source Facilitation with Perle Laouenan-Catchpole

    In today's episode, Nikki talks to Perle Laouenan-Catchpole, an Amsterdam-based facilitator and experienced designer. Perle shares the origins of Perle's award-winning, open-source workshop that aids individuals in identifying their personal climate action.
    Perle discusses the importance of open source in facilitation work and the impact it has on personal growth, relationship-building and work perception. She firmly believes in the need for collaborative and shared resources in addressing pressing issues like climate change. T
    he discussion also touches on different platforms for sharing open-source material and how they can be leveraged by other facilitators. 
    Website https://helloperle.com/
    Perle's LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/perlelc/
    Session Lab Template https://www.sessionlab.com/templates/find-your-climate-sweet-spot/
    Nikki's LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolawilson2/

    Here's the transcript of the conversation:
    Hello and welcome to Facilitation Stories, brought to you by the England and Wales chapter of the International Association of Facilitators, also known as IAF. My name is Nikki Wilson and my guest today is Perle Laouenan-Catchpole.
    Welcome Perle. For listeners that don't know you, could you start by telling us a little bit more about you and your work?
    Yeah, absolutely. So, I am Perle. I'm a workshop facilitator, moderator, experienced designer and aspiring spoken word artist. It's something I have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone to do for a while now. And I'm based in Amsterdam. I was actually born and bred in Cornwall, so you'll notice a very British accent on me, and I've been living in Amsterdam for the past twelve years and have the great joy of co-parenting a five year old daughter. And yeah, that's about me.
    Excellent. And so the inspiration for this episode came from a post you made on LinkedIn saying that you'd won a thing for a workshop you've designed. So, first of all, could you tell us a little bit more about what you won, and how that came about?
    Yeah, absolutely. Well, to give you a little bit more context about my work, so I went freelance in January and I was working as a full time facilitator before that. And over the past couple of years I really recognized that my skill as a facilitator is facilitating large groups online and that opportunity doesn't come along very often. So I started seeking out communities that could use my skills and landed on a community called Work on Climate, which is a 20,000 strong community of individuals trying to find climate work in climate or transition their roles into climate work.
     And I facilitated a workshop for them using Dr. Ayanna Elizabeth Johnson's Ven diagram. That basically similar to Ikigai, which is the Japanese concept for finding purpose, helps you identify your personal climate action. So that workshop, 200 and something people turned up for it and it was incredible. 
    And the workshop design, I then submitted to a contest hosted by Session Lab, which is a facilitators platform, and then won in one of the categories. And I was just really happy to see that workshop then become an open source template for other people to use. So that's how I ended up writing a post on LinkedIn saying I want a thing.
    Well, first of all, congratulations Perle, that's great news and you just touched on it there. But one of the things that had really caught my eye about that post was that you said that you'd made it into an open source template. So I wondered if you could tell us a bit more about how open source features in your facilitation work.
    Yeah, absolutely. And I'd say I kind of categorise it in two ways, because as a facilitator and experienced designer, I rely hugely on open source materials. I'm constantly seeking new ways of doing things, new concepts, new exercises. So I'm leaning on other people's open source material all the time - and then that then e

    • 16 min
    FS56 Facilitating a Multi-Faceted Project with 4 Facilitators

    FS56 Facilitating a Multi-Faceted Project with 4 Facilitators

    In this episode, Pilar talks to fellow podcast team members Helene and Nikki, along with Penny Walker and Shanaka Dias about a global, hybrid process they facilitated together, running over 4 days with multiple languages and timezones.
    They reflect on planning in advance, adapting in the moment and working well as a team.
    The full transcript is below.
    All of the team can be found on LinkedIn:
    Penny Walker:            https://www.linkedin.com/in/pennywalker/
    Shanaka Dias             https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanaka-dias-8765b51/
    Helene Jewell             https://www.linkedin.com/in/helenejewell/
    Nikki Wilson                https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolawilson2/
    Pilar Orti                      https://www.linkedin.com/in/pilarorti/
    And you can find all of the links to IAF England and Wales on the Facilitation Stories website:
    PO – Pilar Orti
    HJ – Helene Jewell
    NW – Nikki Wilson
    PW- Penny Walker
    SD – Shanaka Dias
    PO  00:03
    Hello and welcome to Facilitation Stories brought to you by the England and Wales chapter of the International Association of facilitators also known as IAF. My name is Pilar Orti and I have the absolute pleasure of recording today with not one guest, not two, not three, but four. So first of all, let me introduce fellow co-hosts of the show Helene Jewell, hello, Helene.
    HJ  00:26
    Hello, nice to see you.
    PO  00:30
    Nikki Wilson. Hello, Nikki.
    PO  00:33
    And I then like to welcome back to the show Penny Walker who first appeared in episode two of this show. So welcome back, Penny.
    PW  00:40
    Thanks very much. It's lovely to be here.
    PO  00:43
    And finally, first time guest and someone I've never chatted to before Shanaka Dias, welcome to the show.
    SD  00:50
    Thank you. Thank you for having me.
    PO  00:52
    So to have some proper introductions, I've asked each guest to prepare just two lines to introduce themselves. So we're going to say the same order in which I introduced you so that you'll know when it's coming. So Helene Jewell, we'd like to introduce yourself.
    HJ  01:06
    Hello,I'm Helene. I'm a freelance facilitator based in Bristol, and I work cross sector with all kinds of clients and Yeah, mostly team organisational development and strategy stuff.
    PO  01:18
    Excellent. Thanks, Helen and Nikki Wilson.
    NW  01:21
    Hello, I'm Nikki, I'm based in Essex and I run a social purpose business focusing on facilitation, research and strategic support. And as a facilitator, I particularly enjoy working on Deliberative Public Eengagement projects and Action Learning.
    PO  01:39
    Thank you. Thanks, Nikki and Penny Walker.
    PW  01:42
    Thanks, Pilar. I'm Penny. I'm an independent facilitator based in North London, and my specialism, I suppose is working with clients to have more effective conversations about tricky things. Maybe because they're complicated or there's conflict, or there's multiple parties. And those conversations are mainly about sustainable development topics. It might be climate change, it might be biodiversity loss. It might be I don't know social enterprises coming together. So those kinds of conversations. Yeah.
    PO  02:14
    Thanks, Penny, and Shanaka Dias.
    Hello, I'm Shanaka. I'm based in London. I'm a freelancer. I work in the social sector with charities and foundations. And I guess my specialism is bringing people together to firstly have difficult conversations and to look at ways to come together around measure mission and vision and strategy.
    PO  02:40
    Thank you Shanaka. Thank you very much. Right. So the reason we have you all together for this very special episode, and we're really testing the platform as well, is that you all facilitated a trilingual hybrid session back in January 2023. Is that correct?
    That's righ

    • 53 min
    FS55 From Working for the European Commission to Independent Facilitator with Sue Bird

    FS55 From Working for the European Commission to Independent Facilitator with Sue Bird

    In this episode of Facilitation Stories Pilar is joined by Sue Bird, who is a European public affairs specialist and facilitator.
    Sue ran a session on facilitating for government at the recent IAF conference. She talks about how pleased she was to be able to attend the IAF England and Wales conference in Birmingham recently, and how it was great to be able to meet fellow facilitators and understand how they're running their business, how they do facilitation. She talks about how she does both European Public Affairs consultancy work AND facilitation. 
    Sue reflects on a session she attended at IAF England and Wales about structuring your facilitation business. She set up her own business a year ago, following her 30 years work for the European Commission in a number of different policy areas, and in funding programme management. She wanted to set up a business that would play on these strengths and use the training she has received in the Art of Hosting and Participatory Leadership with the European Commission. She used this in her job to help in team building process, strategy development and other areas while employed with the Commission. She still helps them out in this way still as an “Active Senior”.  
    On the topic of how well embedded facilitation is into the European Commission, Sue mentions that the tools they use at the European Commission are well known tools, such as the World Café. She thinks that facilitation is about marrying passion and profession. 
    Sue talks about the very generous training offers in the European Commission and how she was attracted to facilitated meetings and realised that this was something she really wanted to get trained in. The Commission trained people to a good enough point to try them out as internal facilitators. Her facilitation work was in addition to her ordinary 40 hour week. 
    Sue describes the different types of work that she is able to offer now and how facilitation links into the public affairs she gets involved in.
    Pilar asks how facilitation in government might be different to other sectors. 
    Sue explains that there are political processes that affect these different organisations and that being involved in politics is a very human experience. She talks about how uncertainty can arise and how there is often pressure on public officials. She also talks about when there are changes in the working environment and how reorganisation of services can happen every now and then. When change is in the air, there is quite a bit of uncertainty and, as in all large organisations, people’s opportunity to influence what they do is limited.  
    All of this will affect how people show up to facilitated sessions and how a facilitator needs to manage this.
    Pilar asks whether when working with people in government, people might not be able to be as open.
    Sue says that there would probably be a minimum amount of openness but that it will be up to the procurer of the service to set the scene. The facilitator will need to build up a trusting relationship with the client.
    On the subject of working as a facilitator in an institution with people of different nationalities, Sue mentions the possible challenge of language. She will be soon facilitating a session in French, and although she is fluent, this will be harder work. International organizations tend to create a culture of their own, and there's a certain understanding that broadly facilitators need to accept that and work with it.
    Sue shares a little about her role with the IAF Belgum chapter and their 24 members. They have two different types of meeting each month. The focus of one of them is on sharing tools that educate, while the other is called a “Facilitators Studio”, where people can experiment. One recent topic has been different decision-making tools.
    To connect with Sue Bird  on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sue-bird-037311129/
    You can connect with Pilar Orti on Twitter https://tw

    • 27 min
    FS54 Falling Back in Love with Appreciative Inquiry with Ann Nkune

    FS54 Falling Back in Love with Appreciative Inquiry with Ann Nkune

    In today’s episode Nikki talks to Ann Nkune about her rediscovery of Appreciative Inquiry. 
    Ann is a facilitator working with charities, social enterprises and the public sector helping people to increase their impact and be sustainable. Her work over the last 10 years has been parent friendly start up and career development programmes for women operate in the environmental and social impact sector. 

    Ann describes a Linked In post that she recently wrote about Appreciative Inquiry (AI) where she was able to connect with other AI enthusiasts to talk to about it, help her work through the complexities and challenges and think about what more she could do when facilitating. And how she had fallen back in love with it having not used it for a while.  

    Ann talks about the premise of AI and how most theories of change are about identifying a problem or risk. Whereas AI says that change is much more likely to happen when people understand where their strengths and the strengths of an organisation are, and can have a level of enthusiasm and optimism that change is possible. So AI increases the positive energy that comes from a group even when there are tricky things so they can see their way through the difficulties.  

    She describes some examples of AI and the process which starts with a topic and going through 4 stages; DISCOVEREY (proud/pivotal moments and skills and qualities), DREAM (allows people to step back and see the big picture and how she encourages people to be creative) - Ann shares an example of creating playdough toilets! DESIGN (what is the reality and what are the options) and DELIVERY (commitment to action and major projects that are required to get to the dream stage).  

    Ann tells Nikki how she had rediscovered AI in lockdown when doing goal setting online. She remembered how she first started to use it several decades ago and how she was initially quite cynical about it, but that AI gave the people she was working with a new perspective.  

    She shares her observations and different uses; for individual discussion e.g. mums of young children as a way of capturing their strengths, bringing together people in teams to build relationships in new ways. She describes how energising it is in a group and to be visionary even if they don’t think they are.  

    Nikki asks how her thinking about it has evolved....Ann says she has a recognition that where situations are complex and there is anxiety or conflict that there needs to be a pre-briefing, something that happens pre-process so that people have an opportunity to vent and get things off their chest, and process so they can decide what is crucial to bring in and what can be left out, and to understand what is going to happen in the process.  

    She also describes how she discovered Time to Think by Nancy Klein and the thinking environment and how this requires a particular type of listening and questioning. Operating the AI process using thinking environment principles really improves it. She also considers conflict and Non Violent Communication as a potentially something to use before AI. She is also a fan of mindfulness as a way of preparing for these conversations.  

    Nikki asks about the preparation and getting to know the context when using AI . Ann says she doesn’t do this as much as she used to when she felt she needed lots of facts. But now she needs to know that people are in the right frame of mind to do the process. She prepares well but doesn’t get too bogged down in the details.  

    Ann shares some examples of using AI – individual work with women who have taken the leap from prevaricating to putting something in place and taking practical steps (using AI and the Lean Canvas). In terms of organisations she has done quite a few team building sessions, building relationships between board members and staff, allowing them to work more effectively.  

    To connect with Ann Nkune on Lin

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

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Simply_ct ,

A gem

A really good insight in to the lived in experience of being a facilitator. The hosts (Pilar and Helen) interview a wide range of facilitators to get their thoughts and insights in to a growing field that covers teams, people dynamics, technology and psychology. I love hearing the different voices on facilitation topics. And highly recommend giving this a listen if you are at all curious about the subject.

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