Monday, November 12, 2007

Facilitation: Differentiating Facilitation & Coaching


Both Facilitation and Coaching are great tools for the 21st Century management and helping professionals. But they are different, though the difference is subtle.

What are Coaching & Facilitation?

Both aim at helping others through making them discovering more to develop their own solutions. The difference is not being the number of audience. Both coaching and facilitation can be done on an one-to-one or one-to-many basis.

Coaching is at the far end, the Discovery End of the communication spectrum. It is quite a pure form of discovery. A coach does not know how something was happened and how it is going to happen. A coach helps the clients by perceiving and thinking more and clearer through non-directive questioning.

Facilitation is a less pure form of discovering. A Facilitator guides the clients in perceiving and thinking in a direction decided by the facilitator. A facilitator is an expert in some of the processes commonly faced by a person or an organization, like ideas generation, conflict resolution, etc. A facilitator guides these processes under some frameworks. These frameworks provide directions so that the process becoming easier and faster.

Does Coaching or Facilitation lead others? Yes. A coach leads others' context of perceiving and thinking, while a facilitator leads others' context of the processes. But both do not lead others' content of the issues, i.e. they do not give advises and teach.

When a coach or facilitator advises others, he/she is doing something else other than coaching or facilitation. But most coaches and facilitators give advises because it is easier to do so. Telling always seems easier than helping others to discover by themselves. However, the advises can be not appropriate or wrong!

So, a coaching model must be a perceiving or thinking model (like our A to B Model, 6 Tiers of Questioning Models, Fulfill Model, etc.). A facilitation model should be a process model.

There are so many coaching models out there should be classified as facilitation models as they are talking about a specific process for the clients, like self improvement or business development, etc.

Coaching or Facilitation, which one is easier?

Coaching is easier for the coach, but more difficult for the clients. Facilitation is more difficult for the facilitator, but easier for the clients.

A coach can just rely on one single thinking model to coach while a facilitator require to apply different process models to facilitate different situations. Even for the same kind of situation, like ideas generation, a facilitator might use different process models according to the background of audiences and situation.

It is easier for the facilitator's clients because they are provided with the directions to think. However, the depth of discovery can be greater in coaching and the effects can be longer term and more extensive.

Facilitation is more linear and faster while coaching is more radiant but slower.

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