Retrospective Facilitator Gathering

Regardless of what we discover...

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The idea beyond this session leads to a basic question of facilitating. How to facilitate a group of experts without a deep understanding of their technical backround? What does a facilitator need to know about the specific content of a project to enable a focussed learning process? Especially during retrospectives, conversations often switch between multiple topics. Participants using technical language e.g. make it difficult for a facilitator to make the right decision when to interupt a (technical) discussion.

Here are some metaphors we found to describe the problem:

  • an air traffic controller who is not a pilot
  • a kindergarden teacher without own children
  • an aidworker that never was poor
  • a judge in a criminal court who has never broken the law
  • The coach in “Charioth of Fire”
  • midwife without the experience of pregnancy
  • a soccer coach who never was a professional soccer player
  • a traffic policeman who doesn´t drive
  • a restaurant critic who can`t cook
  • a seminar hotel director who never was trainer or facilitator
  • a bald barber

The group felt comfortable to go on with the discussion using the metaphor of an air traffic controller who has no experience as a pilot:

What is a pilot expecting from the air traffic controller (atc)?

  • current of his instruments
  • to guide me safety
  • thy use a common formal language
  • to be aware of the air
  • there is no chit chat allowed
  • the pilot decides about actions
  • an atc directs me
  • the pilot knows exactly what to expect
  • to be there
  • well-rested and attentive
  • have knowledge about the aircraft
  • direct me towards consequences
  • controller has to know the capabilities
  • expert in his skills
  • decisions have to be made cooperative

How does a pilot recognize that he is confident with the controller?

  • intensive trainings
  • union of air-traffic controller
  • to have trust

What are the advantages of a controller with the experience of a pilot?

  • experience ist “nice to have”
  • experience as a pilot is good for atc beginners
  • when the pilot dies, the controller can “talk” the plane down.

Are there any disadvantages?

  • sucked into the content causes to pay less attention to own tasks

Conclusions (Transfer)

What does “be aware of the air” means for a facilitator? –> Be sensitive for what is going on in the room!

What is the “common language” of the facilitator and the team? –> It's the process! Having the ability to structure the process and to know the appropriate vocabulary is the faciltator's business!

Like the pilot knows exactly what to expect from the air traffic controller, the facilitated group must have a clear image of what they can expect from the facilitator. –> explain the roles and place a clear contract

In an airplane it is the pilot who makes the decisions. –> Facilitating means to support a group not to lead them! The Team decides on actions!

Like an air traffic controller has to have some knowledge about the aircraft –> facilitators must know the context of a group

how_to_be_a_good_midwife_without_the_experience_of_pregnancy_martin.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/27 07:58 (external edit)