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  • Facilitation Skills Research Survey

    Summary Report June 23, 2003

    Leadership Strategies, Inc.

    The Facilitation Company 4200 Perimeter Park South Suite 207, Perimeter Crest

    Atlanta, Georgia 30341 (770) 454-1440

    www.leadstrat.com

  • Facilitation Skills Research Survey

    A. Overview

    In May, 2003, Leadership Strategies – The Facilitation Company sponsored a research project to help define the knowledge, skills and experiences a facilitator should possess to consistently lead great facilitated sessions. The research project included a survey for facilitators and users of facilitation services.

    Definition of a Great Facilitated Session

    The survey defined a great facilitated session as a meeting in which the following conditions are met:

    Participants understand what is to be done in the meeting and why.

    Participants are interested and engaged through out the activity.

    Participants stay focused on the issue.

    Participants interact openly and productively.

    Participants develop creative solutions that address the issue.

    Participants understand and are committed to the solution.

    Disagreements are resolved effectively and efficiently, with all parties feeling their views were heard and respectfully considered.

    Dysfunctional behavior is addressed effectively and efficiently, with all parties feeling the group’s norms were respected and violations of the norms appropriately addressed.

    At the completion of the session, participants understand the decisions made, and the follow-up actions to be taken, by whom and by when.

    Survey Questions

    The survey requested responses to ten questions. The ten questions are summarized below. The complete survey document is included as Attachment A.

    1. Both facilitators and clients of facilitation will be responding to this survey. Which best describes you?

    2. As a facilitator, approximately how many sessions have you facilitated over the past two years?

    3. As a client, approximately how many sessions have you sponsored or participated in over the past two years?

    4. Think about someone whom you think is a great facilitator. What is it that makes that facilitator great? Describe in as much detail as you would like.

    - 2 - Leadership Strategies

  • 5. Please add to our definition. We define a great facilitated session as a meeting in which

    the following conditions are met (definition provided). What additions or changes would you make to this definition?

    6. How important are the following “(A) Presence/Engagement” skills to achieving a great facilitated session?

    7. How important are the following “(B) Assessment/Adaptability” skills to achieving a great facilitated session?

    8. How important are the following “(C) Communication/Analysis” skills to achieving a great facilitated session?

    9. How important are the following “(D) Control/Consistency” skills to achieving a great facilitated session?

    10. Please indicate below other facilitator skills you would recommend?

    - 3 - Leadership Strategies

  • B. Survey Distribution and Response

    The Facilitation Skills Research Survey was distributed through the various U.S. affiliate networks listed on the IAF website. While the research project was primarily U.S. based, responses from international audiences were welcome. The coordinators of the networks were requested to forward the survey on to their members. The survey requested participants to forward on to other facilitators and users of facilitation services. In total, there were 459 respondents to the survey as follows.

    Respondents to Survey

    Facilitators 82%

    Clients 11%

    Other 7%

    Facilitators Clients Other

    1. Both facilitators and clients of facilitation will be responding to this survey.

    Which best describes you? Number Percent I am a facilitator. 379 82.6 % I am a client of facilitation. 50 10.9 % Total 429 93.5 % Missing Cases = 30

    - 4 - Leadership Strategies

  • C. Number of Facilitated Sessions

    After eliminating obvious entry errors (e.g., one response indicated 1500 sessions over the past 2 years – the equivalent of 2 sessions a day, every day of the year), the number of facilitated sessions still varied widely from 1 to 500.

    The average number of facilitated sessions was 48.5 sessions. The median response was 30 (i.e., there were as many responses above 30 as there were below 30).

    2. As a facilitator, approximately how many sessions have you facilitated over

    the past two years?

    Number of Facilitated Sessions in Last Two Years

    100+ 15%

    50-99 11%

    25-49 19%11-24

    18%

    1-10 17%

    No Response 20%

    # of Sessions Facilitated Number Percent 100+ 69 15.0% 50-99 50 10.9% 25-49 86 18.7% 11-24 81 17.6% 1-10 80 17.4% No Response 93 20.3% Total 459 100.0%

    - 5 - Leadership Strategies

  • D. Number of Sessions Sponsored

    Though only 50 respondents identified themselves in the first question as primarily users of facilitation services, 158 respondents indicated that they had sponsored or participated in a session as a client in the past two years.

    The number of sessions varied widely from 1 to 300. The average response was 23.0 sessions, the median response was 10 (i.e., there were as many responses above 10 as there were below 10).

    3. As a client, approximately how many sessions have you sponsored or

    participated in over the past two years?

    Number of Sessions Sponsored or Participated as a Client

    in Last Two Years

    50+ 4%

    21-49 4%

    11-20 7%

    1-10 20%

    No Response 65%

    # of Sessions Facilitated Number Percent 50+ 18 3.9% 21-49 17 3.7% 11-20 30 6.5% 1-10 93 20.3% No Response 301 65.6% Total 459 100.0%

    - 6 - Leadership Strategies

  • E. What Makes a Facilitator Great

    4. Think about someone whom you think is a great facilitator. What is it that

    makes that facilitator great? Describe in as much detail as you would like.

    There were 83 responses to this question. Six responses gave the equivalent of a “no answer” response or the response was not relevant to the question. The remaining 77 responses were coded by topic of the response. In most cases, a response contained multiple codes. In total there were 403 codes applied, or an average of 5.2 topic codes per response. The topic codes that were included in at least 5% of the responses are shown below, along with the frequency in which the topic code was identified. The detailed responses are included in the Appendix.

    Topic Code Frequency

    Focus 30

    Engage 20

    Adaptable 19

    Listens 19

    Knowledgeable 18

    Neutral 17

    Group Dynamics 14

    Humor 13

    Prepared 13

    Energy 12

    Presence 12

    Friendly 10

    Sensitivity 10

    Time 10

    Communication 9

    Organized 9

    Techniques 9

    Synthesizes 8

    Analysis 7

    Topic Code Frequency

    Confidence 7

    Consensus 7

    Participants 7

    Process 7

    Questions 7

    Respect 7

    Summarizes 6

    Accountability 5

    Buy-in 5

    Comfort 5

    Environment 5

    Feedback 5

    Creativity 4

    Follow-up 4

    Learns 4

    Open 4

    Patience 4

    Trust 4

    - 7 - Leadership Strategies

  • F. Additions to the Definition

    5. Please add to our definition. We define a great facilitated session as a meeting in which the following conditions are met: (definition provided). What additions or changes would you make to this definition?

    There were 74 responses to this question. Eleven responses gave the equivalent of a “no answer” response or the response was not relevant to the question. The remaining 63 responses were coded by topic of the response. In some cases, a response contained multiple codes. In total there were 105 codes applied, or an average of 1.7 topic codes per response. The topic codes that appeared in at least two responses are shown below, along with the frequency in which the topic code was identified. The detailed responses are included in the Appendix.

    Topic Code Frequency

    Results 12 Follow-up 9 Inclusive 9 Empower 7 Benefits 5 Ground rules 4 Role 4 Respect 3 Trust 3 Understanding 3 Adaptable 2 Buy-in 2 Consensus 2 Fun 2 Neutral 2 Plan 2

    - 8 - Leadership Strategies

  • G. Skill Ratings

    For questions 6-10, the participants were asked to rate a list of skills in terms of how important each is to achieving a great facilitated session as defined in the prior question, with any additions and changes they suggested to the definition. The participants were asked to rate each skill based on a Likert scale as follows:

    Very Important Important Not As Important Not Important at All 7 5 3 1

    The 57 skills included in the survey were compiled based on a review of facilitator competency models and training curriculums.

    The results are shown below with separate columns for clients and facilitators. (Respondents who did not identify themselves as either are grouped with facilitators.) The letter attached to