ICA Ukraine launches ToP Facilitators Lab

ICA Ukraine Young Facilitators Lab

ICA Ukraine launched a new project -ToP Facilitators Lab – space designed for those who have just received the very first skills in using ToP (Technology of Participation) facilitation tools. This is a laboratory for experimenting with the results of new ideas and testing new practices. We hope that the ICA Ukraine experience can help the ICA Global Community. We hope everyone will have a lot of successful projects. Here we have our first confessional.

By – Irina Prikhodko
Translation – Yuliya Kriventseva

First Lab for Young Facilitators: what‘s mastered and what’s understood.
The very first self –made facilitation – a beginner’s experience.

ukraine-01As we have just graduated from a ToP training program, conducted by Natliya Karpova, and as members of a group called “Deep” we asked ourselves a trivial question: what ‘s next. Someone emailed us the idea of facilitating this dilemma, so we did, it appears to have been a good thought and this is what happened.

After fast organizing things we we’re sitting in a room to plan the event, with a strong intent to practice and gain a good result. Eight persons were ready to invest their time. We thank Nadezda Kopanitsa for her help in preparing and hosting the event, also for suggesting ideas for the vision of our future work.

ukraine-02We started with the tradition of introducing ourselves. With assistance from Vitaly Maystrenko we discovered that we made a group of 5 business skills trainers, 1 coach, 4 professional facilitators and 4 facilitators-beginners. We came up to everybody’s expectations. A wonderful team! Unfortunately I do not have a picture of Vitaly at the sticky wall.

Using the ORID method we started with establishing what is a “correct” question to work with for consensus. Vladimir Nikulin lead the task. Though it was not that easy… Facilitators need to think with ORID, it needs to be installed and become a part of you. It’s not usual for beginners.

ukraine-04We brainstormed ideas and decided on the first priority, checked and looked for any arguments, struggled, and finally, after an hour and a half of work, we gained our consensus. We had a key question to proceed and work with: what do facilitators-beginners need to do next to get the necessary skills and start the facilitator career?

We understood that:

  • What looks simple during training or in the mind – is not that easy in practice.
  • Discovering the “correct” key question is the most responsible, complicated and essential task.
  • Defining the key question for the group may look obvious but requires more time than it’s sometimes estimated.

ukraine-09The next step is to find consensus for the suggested question. And this was the time for my show! How does a beginner feel when facilitates for the first time? Surely everybody remembers this moment. Inspiration, excitement, and doubt, especially when your teacher is a member of your group. This is how I felt.

The team’s work was thoughtful, fast and united, even faster than me, as it was noted in the feedback. Technology just works !

In less than an hour we got 9 clusters for the direction of further steps. Everything is sharp, clear and well structured. Using the results, anybody can make a suitable plan for the next steps, the facilitator’s way. We were inspired by the result!

But the most exciting thing was just on the way: Feedback – looking at it from a distance. This is the most valuable experience after the real work we did. When you get 7 opinions about your work, you understand and analyze that you are really moving forward in your career.

ukraine-10We are grateful to all the participants especially to Svitlana Salamatova and Nataliya Karpova for being with us, their patience (sometimes rather difficult) and valuable feedback which definitely helped to move us forward. Of course, we understand that not everything is ideal, but at least we know what not to do and where to go. In conclusion we found that the biggest part for the the success of facilitation is in the preparation!

How did the Lab appear?

Everything started with the simple question: what to do next? While we prepared to conduct discussions, the usual facilitating session turned into a regular meeting format for joint practice named, “Young Facilitators Lab”. Our vision is to create a project to help and support ToP training graduates who wish to make a career of being a facilitator. Practice is necessary for a professional start! And once or twice a month everybody can get it in the Lab.

Young Facilitators Lab has a right to live! First of all because this is a space for the safe practice where you can make mistakes or even get training wounds. Secondly, you may solve many problems for both young and experienced facilitators, and share the thoughts, experience, and ideas. Third: you can get careful feedback and supervision from like-minded people. And finally: with no practice, a beginner would never become a professional!

ukraine-11aSo, anyone interested in joining the GROWth and movement is welcome to the lab. We are open for suggestions and feedback. We hope this project is going to be a resourceful input into ICA UA development.

P.S. We are happy to share our experience, and believe it will be helpful for facilitators-beginners. Wishing you further GROWth, named as “Lab mom”

This post was first published in the Global Buzz, May 2015.