“What is a Group Facilitator and why should I care?”

“Our classes will give you the skills to work with a group of people to produce better results.”

Hi, I’m Gary Rush and I’m a Group Facilitator and Facilitator trainer. I’m also an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator. For the past 32+ years I’ve trained thousands of people from 18 countries “how to” do my job making a difference in their careers. Like me, many have gone on to become IAF Certified Professional Facilitators (CPFs) – receiving professional recognition that provides them with a competitive edge. Others have gone on to become CEOs, CIOs, and entrepreneurs attributing much of their success to the skills learned in my group facilitator classes saving their organizations hundreds of millions of dollars by enabling people to be more engaged and more creative.

But enough about me… I’m here to introduce you to my new FoCuSeD™ group facilitator skills online classes. These are the most important skills to develop in the 21st Century.

So, by now, you may be asking yourself, “What is a Group Facilitator and why should I care?” Group Facilitators are those who are able to guide people to work together, reach consensus, and produce better ideas. The skills gained in my classes are invaluable to you no matter what you do in business and in life.

When I began, group facilitation was a specialized skill-set. Today, there’s a shift – this specialized skill-set is increasingly being included as a core competency in many job roles because, through facilitation, people develop better ideas that benefit the whole – it brings people together to accomplish good work. Group facilitation skills – is a skill-set that cannot be outsourced and it’s easily transferrable from one job role or business to another.

Today, I also teach, and will continue teaching, group facilitation skills in my 5-day public class – FoCuSeD™ Facilitator Academy because I believe in face-to-face training, which affords students with the opportunity to interact with others, practice, and receive feedback. It does make a difference.

However, I also realize that traveling to my FoCuSeD™ public class can be difficult due to travel costs and travel restrictions. It’s also difficult for people to devote five days away from their job. So, we, at MGR Consulting, Inc., have decided to bring our FoCuSeD™ training to you via self-paced online group facilitation classes.

Our first online class is now available – FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills. This class develops the foundational group facilitation skills to get you started. I cover “how to” prepare for, facilitate, and close a meeting or workshop. I also cover basic people skills, such as presentation skills, communication skills, active listening – which is the most important skill to facilitate effective communication, questioning, “how to” stay neutral, amongst others to enable you to begin your journey towards an effective group facilitator and a successful career.

Our second and third classes are coming soon; stay tuned. Let me tell you about them.

Our second online class – FoCuSeD™ Facilitating People and Conflict – continues the People Skills portion of your journey by teaching you “how to” deal with difficult people and help them become productive contributors. I will teach you “how to” form a group into a team by understanding diversity, culture, paradigms, team characteristics, and team evolution. I will also provide you with numerous people tools to help enhance the functioning of the group, improve creativity, and stimulate new ways of thinking, such as brainstorming, affinity diagramming, team-building, creativity breaks, amongst others.

Our third online class – FoCuSeD™ Holistic Facilitation Process Design – continues the Process Skills portion of your journey by teaching you “how to” design effective workshop and meeting processes that seamlessly incorporate the people tools to enhance team performance. I also provide you with a number of Problem-Solving agendas to get you started along with a number of process tools, such as prioritizing, responsibility matrices, decision-making amongst others.

All three of our FoCuSeD™ online group facilitation classes come with a PDF book designed for reference that you can use throughout your career. We also provide you with a digital class Certificate of Completion.

“Our classes will give you the skills to work with a group of people to produce better results.” Make a big difference in your career and in life! Register now at http://www.mgr-consulting-inc.thinkific.com.

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills – Online Class

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Course Description

How significant is the value of Facilitation? A Collaboration Revolution is coming and you need to be ready with the needed critical skills for success: self-awareness, teambuilding and trust, communication skills, critical thinking, innovative problem-solving, and collaborative solutions – facilitation skills in business and in life. As we move towards an era when outsourcing is commonplace, co-creating, co-working, and the gig economy increases, these skills become more critical. The ability to bring people together and accomplish good work – group facilitation skills – is a skill-set that cannot be outsourced and is transferrable from one role or business to another. Increasingly, these skills are being included as core competencies in many job roles because people develop better ideas that benefit the greater whole. These are the most important skills to develop in the 21st Century.

My FoCuSeD™ Facilitation technique is a unique approach to structured facilitation and the state-of-the-art in structured facilitation methodology. Until FoCuSeD™, facilitation techniques have been either about “process” or “people” skills. FoCuSeD™ contains a unique concept for developing structured agendas with an understanding of the two parallel developments occurring, “the workshop/meeting process and the emotional group cycle”, that must be holistically planned to achieve collaborative useful solutions – the ultimate structured facilitation technique.

My FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills online class is self-paced learning. This class covers skills that supplement your job skills. I provide you with detailed people tools to ensure collaborative useful solutions and I give you effective leadership, business, and interpersonal skills that build your confidence and enhance your ability to be successful. Students also receive a PDF version of FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills book and a digital, sharable class Certificate of Completion.  This sets the foundation for your group facilitation skills. I cover:

  • What is facilitation and when is it used.
  • What do facilitators do?
  • “How to” present yourself effectively.
  • “How to” actively listen.
  • “How to” ask effective questions.
  • “How to” improve your communication.

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For additional information – online course description

Coming soon:

    • FoCuSeD™ Facilitating People and Conflict – Online Class – $125 US
    • FoCuSeD™ Holistic Facilitation Process Design | Problem Solving – Online Class – $125 US

The Future Requires a Collaborative Skill-Set

I’ve been reading about automation, technology, robotics, AI, big data, etc., and I find these emerging trends interesting and useful, but what does this mean for future jobs?

I know these emerging trends are going to replace many future jobs, but what is overlooked is that people’s input will still be needed for the work technology cannot do. Technology has its limitations, it cannot:

  • Actively listen to understand meaning and enable effective communication.
  • Think creatively to create innovative ideas and solve problems.
  • Think critically to turn data into meaningful information and then knowledge.
  • Develop collaborative teams.
  • Build trust and understanding within groups.

So, what this means is that we need a broader set of skills that are transferrable from one role or business to another – Group Facilitation Skills. As a Group Facilitator, people tell me that they work better face-to-face because, as helpful as technology is, it is a barrier to collaboration. Interpersonal communication is 56% non-verbal and that is lost through technology. People need to chat to develop a social connection. This connection helps them build trust and understanding.

Technology helps with large volumes of information, repetitive tasks, analysis, etc. If we embrace it and use it to provide us with assistance, then it becomes a useful tool and if we don’t, then it becomes a barrier. Speaking with my father, a portrait photographer, he said that because of the proliferation of digital cameras in our phones, anyone can capture an image, but they cannot compose the image – that requires human input. He is right and this is applicable to all technology.

What this means for future jobs is that regardless of what you do, what will set you apart and keep you viable are Group Facilitation skills – these universally applicable skills are important to your success. Technology cannot replace this collaborative skill-set because it cannot duplicate interpersonal and social interaction or group facilitation skills.

Hopes for 2017

“My Hopes for 2017”

Since 2016 has been viewed as a not so good year, I wanted to look at 2017 with optimism.  My hopes for 2017:

For all:

Let’s eliminate polarizing groups.  No one group has all the right answers and we need to work together to solve the problems facing humanity.  We do this by replacing judgment with dialog.

Let’s make collaboration a reality instead of a “buzzword”.  In 2016, much was written about collaboration, but it tended to focus more on tools and working together.  I believe that collaboration is far more than that.  We do this by building trust and understanding “how to” share ideas, listen, and build on each other’s strengths.

Let’s make Diversity a standard.  The trend towards parochialism undermines diversity.  Diverse environments are stronger – whether you are talking about sociology, science, other.  We do this by embracing Diversity so racism becomes unacceptable.

Let’s make fake news a thing of the past – this is not “freedom of speech”.  We need to hold our news sources accountable.  We do this by not looking only for those who support our pre-conceived ideas, but looking for those that present facts instead of opinions.

Let’s support peace.  In 2016, for the first time, there was no armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.  We do this by supporting peace and those promoting peace to spread to all hemispheres.

For Companies:

I hope that companies realize the importance of preparing their people for the 21st Century.  Technology is important but without people, where would technology be?  The critical skills for success needed to prepare people for the 21st Century are: self-awareness and emotional intelligence, team building and trust, communication skills, critical thinking, innovative problem-solving, collaborative solutions, etc.  As we move towards an era when outsourcing is commonplace, co-creating, co-working, and the gig economy increases, these critical skills become crucial.

I hope that companies realize that with Data, they need to develop a plan and a business model.  Data, Big Data, IoT, etc., are all the rage, as they should be, but like many other trends (or fads) in the past, automation helps but companies need to understand what the data means, how it’s to be used, and their needs.  Without that, data is simply noiseData needs understanding to become information and then knowledge.

I hope that companies realize that strategy is “not” dead – strategy is never dead.  A fast-changing environment needs strategies more than tactics – you either lead or follow.  With Strategies, you lead.  However, companies need to realize that with Strategies, a living plan exceeds a static plan.  You cannot create static strategies in this environment; they need to be flexible, agile, and understood by all – making it an ongoing process, not an event.

For Group Facilitation Skills:

I hope to see structured facilitation become less formal and more of a standard practice with group facilitation skills becoming a core skill set of many roles.

I hope to see companies recognize the importance of Group Facilitation Skills training.  The ability to engage people in effective communication, decision-making, and problem-solving is a skill set that cannot be outsourced.  Increasingly, these skills are being included as core competencies in many jobs/roles because they contribute to the overall well-being of any organization.  They are trainable and make a significant impact to the bottom line.

I hope to see companies recognize that Process Skills are as important as People Skills.  People skills are absolutely necessary, however the group must also build something of value – that requires a thought process.  This is crucial to building something of value.  A thought process is not a procedure – it is a thinking process that takes people from point A to Z in making decisions, solving problems, etc.  Meetings without thought processes do not succeed.  People Skills combined with Process Skills enable collaboration.

I hope to see Virtual Meetings become productive using group facilitation skills.  These are viewed as cost-effective meetings by saving travel.  They have become a standard, but virtual meetings do not enable teaming – trust is lacking.  Implementing them requires thought to ensure engagement and overcome the barriers that impede teaming.  In virtual meetings, building trust is crucial.

For me:

I hope to train all y’all this year!

I hope Millie, Sean, Al, and I continue to be healthy and close – working with your family is a challenging adventure and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Last, but not least:

Thank you for your loyalty and I wish all y’all a Healthy and Prosperous Year!gary rush facilitation

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills online class

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitaiton Skills online class –

Coming Soon! 4th Quarter 2016

Trainer: Gary Rush, IAF CPF
gary rush facilitation training

I am pleased to announce our FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills online class. It covers the Essence of being a group Facilitator; “how to” prepare, execute, and close a workshop or meeting, along with support tools, Foundational Facilitator Skills and Communication Skills. This class will enable you to take back strategies for “how to” fit group facilitation skills into your job and begin facilitating.

This class is ideal for anyone who wants to develop group facilitation skills to supplement their job skills and enable collaboration, including:

  • Managers, Team Leaders, and Others – to run effective meetings.
  • Project Managers – to manage their teams and enable methods, such as Agile and DevOps, to be successful.
  • Business Analysts and Process Improvement Specialists – to enable effective requirements elicitation.
  • Facilitators, Counselors, Consultants, and HR Specialists – to effectively interview, accomplish tasks, and increase collaboration.

Class Abstract

This online class covers Group Facilitator Skills necessary to facilitate workshops / meetings:

  • What is Facilitation? What’s the history? When is it used?
  • What do Group Facilitators do? How does this fit with your job?
  • Presentation skills – conveying your message
  • Active Listening – communicating understanding, and comprehending
  • Questions – information gathering
  • Neutrality – staying focused on the process

Class Objectives

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills online class is designed so that the students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of Facilitation and its history.
  • Describe how to initiate, run, and close a workshop.
  • Describe why and how to use group norms.
  • Describe the various roles and why each is important.
  • Describe the components of preparation.
  • Take back strategies for “how to” fit facilitation skills into their job.
  • Develop Active Listening skills for effective communication.
  • Gain insight to handle their fears in front of a group.
  • Let go of the “I”, the ego – the personal stake in the outcome.

Class Materials

Students receive:

  • PDF version of FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills by Gary Rush, IAF CPF
  • A class Certificate of Completion.

Class Outline

  • The Essence of Facilitation – Let’s get FoCuSeD™!
  • Facilitating People – Foundation
  • Communication Skills

Coming Soon! FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills – online class

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills online class – coming soon. It covers the Essence of being a group Facilitator; “how to” prepare, execute, and close a workshop or meeting, along with support tools, Foundational Facilitator Skills and Communication Skills. This class will enable you to take back strategies for “how to” fit group facilitation skills into your job and begin facilitating.

Class Abstract

FoCuSeD Introductory Facilitation Skills