Facilitation cannot be separated from the Facilitator and Rees (2005) offers the following definitions.

Facilitate: To make easier or less difficult

Facilitator: A person who makes a group’s work easier by structuring and guiding the participation of group members. Facilitators generally work in a meeting setting, but can also work with a group outside of meetings. A facilitator may also take a neutral (questioning and listening) role when helping others.

Facilitation: Any meeting of a group of people at which a facilitator structures and manages group process to help the group meet its goal. A facilitation may also be a meeting between two people; a facilitator and an individual who accepts process helps and guidance.

Group: A collection of individuals with a reason for being together. Membership in the group may be voluntary or imposed. The life of a group may be short or long and its formation either extemporaneous or planned.

Two key components of facilitation surfaces in the definition and understanding of facilitation. They are process and outcome. Wilkinson (2004) states that every facilitated session has a specific purpose or result to be achieved and to create the result, the participants flow through a series of predefined steps.

The outcome could be a solution to a problem, a team agreement, a project timeline or even a learning outcome. The role of the facilitator is one of the most important factors in making facilitation work. Marquardt (1999) states that one of the key roles of the facilitator is to help the group to work on the problem and also enable the group to learn from the process. He uses the term ‘mirrors; to describe the role the facilitators play. This is a power metaphor to illustrate the exact functions of the facilitator, that he or she does not provide the answers or solutions to the problem.


The facilitator most often than not uses questions to stimulate reflections and learning from the group. “When we learn to ask questions, and do so effectively, our questions can transform individuals, groups and organizations” (Marquardt, 2005)

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