When asked to define a facilitator, some individuals might respond “the person who writes on the paper charts and takes notes.” As discussed in the Facilitation Basics section, actual facilitation is more complex than that. Another critical skill is the facilitator’s ability to remain neutral during the discussion and to represent each attendee equally. There are some facilitators who may have a background in the topic being discussed, but who also have the ability to “remove their subject matter expert’s cap” and wear their “facilitator’s cap” during a session in order to remain neutral. Relatedly, they may work for one of multiple organizations represented in a meeting, but they are able to “remove their organization’s hat” and assume a “neutral facilitator’s hat”. For others, a simpler solution is to request a facilitator from outside the meeting subject topic, or from outside the organization that is hosting the meeting.
There are many individuals within USACE who have received training in and are experienced in facilitation. For example, many employees received Small Group Discussion facilitation training as part of Project Management Business Process (PMBP), while others received training in the Army’s Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) course. Facilitation training ranges from basic instruction to professional certification. Training is also available in the use of a particular type of hardware or software for group meetings such as that used for networked laptops or voting keypads. The level of facilitator training and experience needed for your meeting is generally a function of: the number of attendees, the presence or absence of controversy pertaining to the subject at hand or relationships between attendees, and the complexity of the desired meeting outcomes.
The following database provides contact information for individuals within USACE who have experience in facilitation and are willing to provide that service for others. To find a USACE facilitator in your area, simply select the appropriate state and contact individuals listed using the information provided. If you know of additional trained facilitators who would like to be included in this community of practice, please encourage them to submit/update their information.
Another option is to contact facilitators outside the Corps with associations such as IAF, the Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, the Southeast Association of Facilitators, and many others.
A total of 153 individuals in USACE completed a 2-day Fundamentals of Facilitation and Conflict Resolution training class 2012-2013. They represented HQUSACE, HECSA, IWR, 8 Divisions (LRD, MVD, NAD, NWD, POD, SAD, SPD, SWD), 27 Districts (LRB, LRC, LRH, LRL, LRN, MVK, MVP, MVR, MVS, NAE, NWK, NWO, NWP, NWS, SAC, SAJ, SAM, SAS, SAW, SPA, SPK, SPL, SPN, SWF, SWG, SWL, SWT), 8 ERDC Labs/Offices (CERL, CHL, EL, GSL, ITL, ERDC Command Staff offices and HQ R&D office. Although the initial classes focused primarily on CW representatives, a military officer and a representative of Military Programs were invited to attend the DC area class for possible application to that directorate. They also represented numerous disciplines and communities of practice to include: Contracting, Counsel, Emergency Management, Engineering, Human Resources, Internal Review, Logistics, Operations (office and field sites), Planning, Project Management, Public Affairs, Real Estate, Regional Business Offices, Regulatory Functions, Resource Management, and Research & Development. The attendees list is provided.
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