Safe Ground - Using drama to educate prisoners and young people at risk in the community


What Makes a Good Facilitator

Find out about Programme Manager, Alison Sidaway’s, recent experience of facilitating Man Up training in Yorkshire and the key qualities of becoming a great facilitator! 

What makes a good facilitator? It is a question we ask at our Safe Ground trainings. There is an urban myth amongst delegates that unlike teachers, facilitators turn up, facilitate and go home.

I believe the single most important quality for good facilitation is planning. PRIOR PREPARATION AND PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE. Prior to delivery of any training, we spend over a day to plan sessions, book travel, venue, hotel and liaise with the main point of contact.

Myself and fellow Programmes Manager, Rachel Irving, recently delivered a Man Up facilitator training in Yorkshire. With our bags packed, train booked and seats reserved, Rachel and I set off to Kings Cross.  The train journey would be a good opportunity for us to go through the session plans, one last time. We arrive at Kings Cross, only to find out all trains to Leeds have been cancelled. We stand all the way to Doncaster, so the final run through of the sessions is done over dinner.

The next day we arrive an hour early to set up the training room and liaise with venue staff about the times of breaks and lunch for both days.  The day runs smoothly, delegates get to know each other and enjoy the interactive learning aspects of our sessions. At the debrief, whilst reading through the evaluations and reflecting on the group discussions, we decide the training needs to be adjusted in order to better support the participants to deliver Man Up. So it is back to the drawing board, a couple of hours are spent re-writing the plan.

The next morning over breakfast we do a final run through of the day, happy with the adjustments we set off for the venue. The catering department have been given different times for serving lunch and refreshments, so once again the training plan has to be moved around to fit in with the change of schedule.

The rest of the day goes to plan and Rachel and I return to London on our scheduled train, looking forward to our day off and having a nice lie in. The next morning at 6am, I am woken up by my partner telling me water is pouring through our ceiling from the flat upstairs. This was not what I had planned for my day off. This makes me think the second most important quality for good facilitation is flexibility for when your plans go astray!


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