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  • Writer's pictureNora Griffiths

The Transformative Impact of Facilitation 

Looking to up your leadership skills? Look no further. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the vital role facilitation plays in leadership. The ability to drive, mobilize, and transform teams and organizations through facilitation has become a defining attribute of successful leaders. 



This dynamic skill is needed for navigating the complex and fast-paced and environments.  

 

At Sidekick, we know the power of facilitation. We’ve seen first-hand the positive impacts it can have on an organization (and it’s fun too!). We are in awe of those that integrate facilitation so naturally into their leadership styles and thought we’d pick the brains of three of them.  Prasanna, Amanda, and Talitha share how facilitation is not just about guiding discussions, fun icebreakers or running meetings but about creating impactful, transformative experiences that propel organizations toward their goals. 

 

1. Prioritizing Presence Over Plan 


Prasanna underscores the importance of prioritizing presence over a strict plan in facilitation. Great facilitation, as he describes, hinges on the ability to remain fully present and responsive to the group's dynamics. This approach allows leaders as facilitators to move away from rigid scripts or playbooks and instead adapt their strategies and communications in real-time, ensuring sessions are organically aligned with participants' immediate needs and goals. It's this fluidity and attentiveness that transforms a good strategy into a great one, achieving your desired outcomes and making each interaction meaningful and impactful along the way.   

 

2. Creating Transformative Experiences 


Amanda emphasizes that a great facilitator goes beyond making work fun and engaging. She points out that the real measure of successful facilitation as a leader lies in its ability to create a safe space for challenging thoughts, deeper probing, and personal growth. Leaders that embrace a facilitation approach will leave those involved not just feeling accomplished but changed – with new insights about themselves or the topic that lead to behavioral transformation. Leader who embrace a facilitative approach will elevate an experience that could otherwise be transactional in nature experience to a meaningful journey of discovery, growth and long-lasting change. 

 

3. Empowering Through Active Listening and Adaptability 


Talitha highlights the critical role of active listening and adaptability in effective facilitative leadership. She notes that a great leader, like a great facilitator, is always keenly aware of the verbal and non-verbal cues from participants, using this information to guide a session or strategies direction. This skill is about more than just hearing; it's about empathetically connecting with the group and navigating the myriad emotions, perspectives, and dynamics at play when propelling any team or organization forward. This empathetic and adaptable approach ensures that facilitation is not just a process but a powerful tool for understanding and aligning with the group’s needs every step along the path to success.  

 

The thoughts from these experienced leaders serve as a testament to the power of facilitation in elevating leadership, driving organizational success, and fostering a culture of engagement and growth. The impact of skilled facilitation on leadership effectiveness is more apparent than ever. And is a skill all future leaders will need to excel. Stay tuned for a Q&A from these three experts coming soon! 

 

 

Meet the Expert Facilitators 

Prasanna Ranganathan (he/him) is a diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility advisor, consultant and facilitator working with clients to build organizations that reflect and serve the world. Believing in the power of storytelling to drive meaningful change, Prasanna works as a documentary producer, a freelance arts columnist with CBC, an author, and an active board member with organizations including the Disability Screen Office.  


Amanda Ward (she/her) is a seasoned learning consultant with a MA in Adult Education and over a decade of experience in facilitation training. With a commitment to staying at the forefront of educational research, her expertise lies in creating impactful learning experiences by combining her passion for engaging learners with a deep understanding of the brain science behind learning and retention. Beyond simply making training sessions enjoyable, she is dedicated to ensuring that they are effective and result oriented.   


Talitha Tolles (she/they) is a strong, resilient, and proud Métis woman from the Vasseur-Longlade family line of Drummond Island Voyageurs, is an Indigiqueer facilitator, storyteller, and artist. Her life's journey has been marked by a deep commitment to her community and a passion for fostering change. 

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