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Entertaining The Groan Zone - Guest blog by Rhona Graham

Having recently come to realise there’s life beyond Physiotherapy and the NHS, I had been looking around for some courses that would support me to look for a new career  - or at least enhance the one I have. 

I had no idea what to call what I wanted to do, however I was able to recognise the feeling of being energised and motivated when I was doing it!

During a discussion with a friend, I described what I enjoyed doing so much. I was fortunate she knew what I was going on about and finally I was able to put a name to it, FACILITATION AND COACHING. Once I knew what I wanted to develop, it didn’t take long for me to be pointed in the right direction – Kinharvie Institute’s Facilitation Skills Programme.

The 6-day course offered me the style of learning I thrive upon – a mixture of theory, watching someone else demonstrate and then getting a chance to practice with the added benefit of constructive feedback from the professionals. A new group of people, where nobody knew me or I them, allowed me to work from a clean slate - no previous history - just what was there in front of me, and for them to respond to what they got right there and then. There were 14 of us in total from all walks of life, with different abilities and varying degrees of ‘wanting to be there’. A wonderful learning environment for a rookie facilitator.

The days themselves built naturally onto each other – day one as you would expect laid the foundations, we experienced the basic fundamentals of how to set up your sessions, connecting in, purpose and objective setting, agreeing the agenda and how the group would work together. Moving on, we were introduced to the theoretical models used in Facilitation and the intriguing world of phenomenology! An easy concept to understand but difficult to put into practice, but when you do get the hang of it there can be no argument – that’s a fact!!

Group dynamics, dealing with conflict, dialogue, more models and further practice (encouraging us to become ever more creative) were all added in and by the time our 20mins of ‘Facilitation Fame’ came about we were well prepared for it. 

What did I get out of the course? I arrived with a heap of thoughts, a love of flipcharts and coloured pens, and abundance of interest and an open mind….
And left with an affirmation of the knowledge I had already acquired - now defined into a clear process, bounded by models and a toolkit that includes all sorts of creative ideas. Conflict no longer holds the same dread, in fact I recognise it as a sign that I’m ‘getting some where’ and that change is occurring….well I can cope with that concept and even entertain what I now know is the 'Groan Zone'.

For anyone who is interested in developing their Facilitation Skills I would highly recommend this excellent course   
Rhona Graham
Team Lead for Community Paediatric Physiotherapy (NHS Fife)

3 Comment(s)

Rhona, I share many of your thoughts and experiences. I gained so much from the course too. You can't really teach motivation or enthusiasm, yet as well as all the renewed and enhanced skills and tools, I also left with a renewed passion and love of facilitating. I'm still unable to say 'pheonomonology' but at least I now know what it means and how it feels! The proof of the puddng is in the eating as they say, and I have since had many opportunities to put the skills from this course into practice. Whether those skills are being used as a facilitative participant in a meeting, or trying to remove myself from content and reflect on and voice what is going on when conflict arises, or in trying to move people through a groan zone to facilitate change, I have often thought back to the course and the skilled trainers who were happy to impart their experiences and knowledge.

Helen ryall / 17-Jan-2013 11:38 AM

Great to hear from you and glad to hear that you have been able to make good use of the experience and learning of the facilitation skills programme. Always good to hear how people are using the learning after the course has finished. Hope you continue to enjoy the 'eating of the pudding'!

Pearson / 17-Jan-2013 11:52 AM

Sounds like a very similar esperience to mine Rhona. Totally identify with you now seeing conflict as a positive sign, and of getting somewhere - when previously you'd have avoided it - in my case, like the plague! This newsletter will be a great way to be reminded of all that the wisdom and learning I was exposed to on the course last spring, and want(ed) to bottle and give to all my colleagues and friends. Best wishes Flora

Flora Douglas / 24-Jan-2013 06:00 PM

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