Facilitation for Managers
Short Course

A short course over three days designed to assist managers develop knowledge and skills for effective facilitation of day-to-day situations.

The Need for Effective Facilitation

Governments are calling for integrated "whole of government" outcomes from the services which they deliver. Government agencies must work together in new ways, as "Managing for Outcomes" becomes the dominant management paradigm of the late 1990s and beyond. Consensus, commitment and ownership from stakeholders in projects are increasingly called for. Private sector organisations are forming strategic alliances to take on mega-projects. Learning organisations are developing all over the world enabling people to work together far more effectively and achieve continuous improvement.

An essential, yet often overlooked skill that is called for in all these recent trends in management is facilitation.

The need for effective facilitation is becoming increasingly apparent as managers come to grips with fundamental changes in government, industry and society as a whole. These changes are reflected in the key Australian report – "Enterprising Nation – Renewing Australia’s Managers to Meet the Challenges of the Asia-Pacific Century". The report presents a new paradigm in management and puts forward strong arguments for change in management (including management education). The report argues that without such changes, Australia could not expect to be competitive.

Central to such changes is a shift towards facilitative styles of management in which managers are seen as catalysts rather than controllers. Organisational learning is seen as paramount for sustained success as are the notions of organisation flexibility, open communication and empowerment of employees. Governments are seeing the need to achieve integration of service outcomes from a whole of government perspective and the private sector faces numerous challenges in forming strategic alliances in global markets. All of this calls for effective facilitation skills.

Managers can achieve higher levels of effectiveness if they have the ability to facilitate as opposed to simply directing or controlling. Facilitation skills are very similar to those required by adult educators. To be an effective facilitator requires an understanding of the role of facilitation and the development of a kit of facilitation tools and techniques.

Facilitators need to understand how groups behave, how to motivate them, manage them and help them reach decisions. They need to be highly effective communicators. Facilitation skills can be used in day-to-day activities such as routine meetings. They can be used to assist a group achieve its objectives i.e. to complete a project or an investigation. They can be used where groups are engaged in an activity requiring the application of a particular methodology such as a Risk Management or Value Management.

Purpose of This Course

The purpose of this course is to provide participants with the skills and knowledge needed to facilitate situations involving individuals and small to medium sized groups seeking to achieve specified objectives. It is important to see that the course is only the first step in developing facilitation skills, which really involves life-long learning. Substantial on-going practice together with personal reflection and evaluation is essential.

Learning Outcomes

The intended learning outcomes from this course are listed below. At the end of this short course, each participant should be in a position to commence practice of the following skills, noting the necessity for on-going reflection, learning and continuous improvement. Specifically, students should be able to:

  • Select an appropriate facilitation approach for a given situation;
  • Undertake the necessary preparation for facilitating the session including setting objectives, selecting participants etc;
  • Implement the facilitation strategy and achieve the stated objectives;
  • Overcome any difficulties the group may encounter;
  • Evaluate the session and identify ways of improving the process and outcomes.


Coursework includes the following topics:

Preparing for facilitated session, setting objectives, identifying participants, structuring facilitated sessions, personal preparation, Nominal Group Technique, Decision-making, managing groups, ground rules, group dynamics, managing difficult situations, questioning, active listening, feedback, using media , using energisers, group motivation, opening and closing, presentation skills, the ethics of facilitation, process versus content, learning and learning organisations.

Who is the course designed for?

The course is designed for anyone who is involved in managing people. No pre-requisites are required.


  • Professor Roy Barton, ACVM, University of Canberra
  • Ross Prestipino, ACVM

*The presentation team has extensive experience in facilitation practice which is supported by an ongoing action-research program.

Need More Information?

Contact ACVM

Registration & Payment Details

Please complete a Course Registration form and return it to ACVM to secure your place in this course. ACVM will then invoice you for the course fee.

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