Facilitator’s ABC: Expectations

Cord Oliver Molthanattitude, facilitation

Shortly before nine o’clock in the morning. The room is slowly filling up. A coffee cup in hand here and there. A yawn. Phones to the ear. Mutual greetings. Focus comes slowly. And then the facilitator approaches the topic step by step and – as learned as important in many trainings – asks for the expectations of the participants. And as learned, these are best still written on moderation cards and attached to a moderation wall and sorted thematically.

Often experienced and seen. And always felt as creepy.    

When many people come together on a topic and are accompanied by a facilitator, there is usually the desire that something changes during the meeting and at the latest after the meeting. Because if everything stays as it was or is, people don’t need to come together. That would be waste. (leansixsigma) For the facilitator it is necessary to know what changes are aimed at: for the group, for the individual, for different teams and departments, functions and roles.

Does one find all this out with the expectations question?

Expectations are what you have when you deal with a topic in advance. Many people do not have time for this, especially if the meeting is first perceived as a disruption to the flow of work. If one deals with the topic out of conscientiousness, the expectations usually result from perspectives that are familiar to one and from convictions that have proven to be good and right. Consequently, there is a strong past and preservation energy blowing through the space of expectations.  

How could it go either way?  

The question could be asked at the beginning what changes each would like to see so that what surrounds him/her and what s/he does changes for the better. Once this question is in the room, it becomes quiet. Reflection begins which takes time. If the facilitator accompanies this reflection in a nurturing way, a path to a common denominator regarding the desired outcome or outcomes may begin to emerge.

This is effective and open.