The Appreciative Facilitator

The appreciative facilitator’s role is to help create a shared understanding of what changes are needed and the steps required to get there.

A traditional facilitator will often focus on helping people understand decisions that have already been made or solutions that have already been chosen. As an appreciative facilitator, you should see yourself more as a moderator. This involves asking more questions, speaking less, and listening more.

Tips for bringing an appreciative focus to your conversations and group discussions:

  • See each interaction as a small step towards change
  • Encourage people to focus on what works and develop new routines based on their strengths
  • Acknowledge that people have different needs, values, and levels of motivation
  • Enable reflection on current practice, routines, or beliefs

A strengths-based approach

An appreciative approach focuses on what works rather than what doesn’t. Sarah Lewis explains how this may require some adjustment for some.

Ground Rules

It is your job as a facilitator to make everyone feel at ease. Remember to provide space for people to participate in the conversation, including the quiet members of the team.

Set some ground rules for conversations and team sessions:

  • Listen carefully to what everyone has to say
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Focus on the positives and what works well today
  • Give appreciative feedback