Dear <<First Name>>
I've finally got around to producing another couple of newsletters - they are rare beasts.

Flash is for people interested in group facilitation. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Ignite is our newsletter focusing on change, teams and leadership and will be out shortly. 
Regular news, blogs and articles are available via our website, our Facebook page (“like” us!) and you can follow us on Twitter. There are also some articles being published on LinkedIn
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Rhonda Tranks
Director and Principal, Illuma Consulting

September 21, 2016

In this Flash:

The Essential Facilitator - rebranding our core program
Joining the bits and pieces - Illuma's framework of facilitation

Cognitive bias and life in a bubble 
When a workshop becomes an Oasis 
Keep the canaries alive and singing in your meetings
Rhonda is now an IAF Assessor
Tips - WAIT, WAIS WATT and some humour

The Essential Facilitator

Melbourne Oct 19 & 20

Canberra Oct 27 & 28

Illuma has recently renamed its core facilitator training program. The fee is the same, the content is much the same but instead of a group follow up call participants now get a one-to-one mentoring / coaching call after the workshop. The program is practical and based on solid frameworks and theories. Small group to allow practice and feedback. Aligns with the Core Competencies of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and run by an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator and IAF Assessor with many years experience in groups, process facilitation, training and training and mentoring facilitators (AKA me / Rhonda).
Please alert colleagues or friends who would benefit from developing their facilitation skills.
Check out the video and download a flyer here.
Call + 61 (0) 410510720 to discuss or email

Joining the Bits and Pieces

Illuma's holistic framework of facilitation

Finally it all fell into place. I’ve been working on this model for a few years now – some of you may have seen an earlier version.  It’s a holistic / systems framework to help make sense of the “bits and pieces” of facilitation and how they are interdependent. 
I presented this at a half-day plenary workshop at the IAF Malaysia conference in 2015. A concurrent workshop at the IAF Oceania Conference in May 2016 focused on Trust and Safety. Then I ran a 1-day pre-conference workshop at the recent IAF Asia conference in Taiwan. Check out some photos and more detail on Illuma’s Facebook page
Plans afoot for a one-day workshop for experienced facilitators (in Melbourne) and short webinars looking at the different components. Interested? Email me for more details. 

Cognitive bias and life in a bubble

One of the sessions I attended at the recent IAF Asia conference was on cognitive biases. The workshop was a well-designed collaborative learning approach led by Shawn Chung from Open Quest in Taiwan. Since then I’ve been immersed in thinking and reading about bias. We all have biases - I do and so do you. They exist in all groups that we facilitate and that we are a part of. How do we as facilitators work to uncover, recognise, confront and mitigate for biases - our own and those that surface in groups? Read my reflections here – your comments are welcome. 

 Keep the canaries alive and singing in your meetings

Organisations can invest tremendous amounts of money, energy and time trying to build cohesiveness in teams, leadership groups and decision / planning meetings. But when it comes to teams and groups, I don’t necessarily equate cohesive with effective.
When sticking together means not challenging each other’s thinking cohesiveness is dysfunctional …
Keep reading this and more of Rhonda’s LinkedIn articles related to facilitation.
Email us for a pdf copy of the article.

When a workshop becomes an Oasis

As facilitators what guides when & how we intervene in groups? What are we noticing in others? What is in our awareness of ourselves?
This was the tag line for a workshop I ran in May with Dr George Wills “Understanding group functioning using aesthetic / intuitive senses” (scroll down to see the flyer and description). It was an extraordinary and precious experience to be in this group and working with George. Paul Batfay, CPF was in the group and wrote a beautiful blog reflection called Oasis. Here’s just one snippet that resonated with me …
“There is so much of a collective feeling of meaninglessness in organisations now. Our role as facilitators is to not leave alone the people struggling with that.”  A beautiful call to arms for my profession, and probably the most instructive thing I heard during the whole week.  A dip into existential philosophy elicited that calls to arms; this makes it worth a head-under-the-waves immersion.
Read more of Paul’s Oasis experience.

Rhonda is now an IAF Assessor

This means I work with a panel of 4 assessors and a process manager assessing candidates for the IAF’s Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) accreditation.
The International Association of Facilitators has the most widely
recognised, comprehensive, and reliable Facilitator Certification. There are Facilitators holding the IAF's CPF designation in more than 60 countries around the world. It is competency based, is a proper peer review, and includes significant feedback. It is also the only one not tied, in one way or another, to a particular methodology or commercial interest.
More on what is involved in becoming a CPF
To date anyone who has attended Illuma's facilitator training then gone on to undertake the CPF accreditation has passed.
Note, as an IAF assessor I cannot be on the certification team if I have trained you. This is a good thing; an indication that the IAF is rigorous in its evaluation methods and is serious about potential or perceived Conflict of Interest. Fortunately the IAF has an international pool of assessors who are moved around the world to ensure a diversity of perspectives.  

  Tips - WAIT, WAIS and some humour 

You’re probably familiar with the acronym WAIT - Why Am I Talking? It’s really helpful for extraverts like myself who seem to need an external mental whiteboard to know what we are thinking. But what about WAIS - Why Am I Scribing? The power of the pen / marker can get in the way of effective facilitation. A better way is to get participants to scribe or even better use a sticky wall, so people write their own ideas. This allows you to stand back, maintain the bigger picture and better facilitate the process rather than being locked into scribe role.
And here’s another one WATT – Why Are They Talking? Let’s put an end to the turgid “every group reports back on everything” method (yes, this excruciating approach still happens) ...
  • Avoid giving the same topic to every sub-group
  • Ensure groups only report on what hasn't been covered
  • Try variations using the more interactive gallery chat or wandering flipchart approaches. People or sub-groups move from flip-chart to flipchart either conversing and recording discussion (à la World Café) or having a specific critique task.
Every time as a facilitator you do something for the group you take away from a participant the opportunity to do something for the group. Marvin Weisbord.

And just for fun

Behaviour to watch out for in meetings. 

Flash is our newsletter specifically for those interested in Facilitation. The next issue of our general newsletter Ignite will be out shortly.

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