- a broad enough Entity,
- and invite valuable participants WHO want to share required information and criticism,
- a safe environment by setting the room and mixing participants,
- the organizational context (‘force field analysis’),
- a mutual understanding WHY a change is required; what real existing problems block progress,
- WHAT the project can realistically achieve (Results) and what not (Assumptions for monitoring),
- WHAT this will actually mean; the indicators,
- WHAT the project can do and what not (Assumptions for monitoring),
- who will be responsible for the implementation and
- the required organizational capacity by assessing internal organizational obstacles and design the organizational capacity plan (the ‘HOW will it happen’ matrix).
The facilitator needs to make the above steps happen in a smooth natural way involving each and everybody equally by only have them talk about the content.
After having gone through several crises all participants managed finally to raise out of the ‘field with land mines’ and help the group as a real confident moderator!
Erik and Frank, such a short text for such a intensive week. A minefield yes. I participated in the course and came out more confident but also more aware that the way to grow is to practice. But then how are you going to start a fully fledged LFA of two or three days without a lot of prior experience. My choice is to start small. Next Thursday I will start with an internal problem tree analysis. Facilitating that as a First step will make me happy and should give valuable input for the policy on “verhuur van vrijstaand bijgebouwtjes als zomerwoningen”, ”the rental of sheds to tourists on Ameland”.
For the evaluation of impact, someone using part of the technique is definitely an achievement. But What about the course itself, the activities and results?
- The Lunches were excellent, the subtitle “the culinary course” is correct
- The Group, though small was supportive and did well in the role-play, sometimes we wanted to be on your or Frank’s chair, enthusiasm
- Very intensive, actually all of us had to focus on three things at ones: the content of LFA, The procedure at hand and the actual moderating. To be successful you have to get all three right, the numerous time-outs were needed, tiring but they helped!
- Feedback was confronting, sometimes leading to feeling desperate but in the end we left with confidence.
- Having two such experienced trainers available was really good. The different styles and perspectives showed us that we in the end the way you do it should be close to your own style, We can’t be all as relaxed as Frank or as enthusiastic as Erik.
- Trust the Group and trust the procedure It will work, don’t mess to much with it. I personally like to be creative with the method. Maybe in future that is Ok but for the moment I feel I should use it the way we learned it.
- Interesting that you felt exhausted after the course, we of course felt the same, but it shows that either you should start fitness exercise or probably it simply costs a lot of energy guiding and correcting us. Seeing the different types- and amount of feedback I am not surprised about you being exhausted
- Maybe a good thing to know is also that even though the days were long, I was often disappointed that the day after 20:00 was over.
- Concluding, the implementation of the course was good, the results were there (knowledge transfer, attitude and confidence) Only if we start implementing it is really successful.
Hi guys, well, it’s not entirely easy to coming in as second with reflections after Sjon… I believe he capture the essence of the course very well. I realized that the noble art of facilitation is a combination of self confidence, experience and methodology. It’s like a mathematically related triangle; if you change the value in any of the three angles, the others will have to change as well… So, first and foremost, this was a very personal week to me, on every level…..
But to reflect on the course; of course it is easy to grasp the fact that both trainers are just SO experienced and relaxed in EVERY situation we’ve discovered throughout the course. This is of course good from a general point of view, as long as it doesn’t mean that the trainers loose temper and motivation if the participants gets lost in translation, so to speak… After all, we were a group of really unexperienced LFA practitioners, even if some of us had done facilitation before..;-))
As for myself, I wonder if “the other way around” would have been better. With that I mean starting with a training course on the LFA model as such, end THEN the LFA facilitation course. Having said that, I have only positive things to say about the Facilitation course and, not even how much I try to come up with ideas of improvement, there are none; my reflections above are only personal, based on my own performance. Hope you’ll understand…
After cheering Erik and Frank I also would like to embrace the rest of the group; so nice and friendly, so skilled and full with courage and ambition. You will make a great success, all of you, and I truly hope that we will meet again – doing training, workshops, or, which isn’t bad at all, just networking!
Cheers to all of you! // Ulf
It was a very interesting week, indeed. Minefield, it was sometimes the impression I got. The mind “blocked” by the techniques, the sequences to follow, the problems and not the (lack of) solutions, the (right) questions, …
But as Erik says, the facilitator needs to make it happen in a smooth natural way involving each and everybody equally by only have them talk about the content.
That’s it, the participants talk about the content, the solutions are in the group.
It is much different than “chairing” a meeting, even if many times a good chair person should act more as facilitator.
In a smooth and natural way, that the practice of course.
This training has given me a lot more confidence but has also emphasized the necessity to practice. This can be done at a “lower” level in the day-to-day professional (also private) life.
My hope is of course to get as soon as possible interesting assignments.
I have also underlined several aspects, I find important:
- the importance of assumptions, the ones to be monitored. Changes there can modify completely the feasibility and/or sustainability of a project
- the “How” matrix, focusing on the capacity building. This is an aspect often forgotten or badly evaluated in projects
- the importance of the listening, active and precise. Do not expound but reproduce, clarify by precise questions
- be humble and patient
Thanks a lot to Erik and Frank, great teachers, also showing what it means to be a professional moderator, in rather different styles.[hr]
Finally I´m sitting down trying to write a few lines about LFA Moderation course I attended.
I have had some opportunities to facilitate and use some of the tips and tricks I learned in the course. The reality is obviously not the same as in the safe course environment and you have to adapt according to the situation. But still the course has been very useful to me. I do need to be safer with the method in itself and I guess it will take quite a while before I can call myself a moderator.
The course was excellent, though intense. Sometimes I found it hard to relate to the examples from our teachers experiences of facilitation, they were sometimes very far away from my world, but extremely interesting of course!
I wrote a blog post about my experience in the course, had a marvelous week!
it has indeed been a wonderful course. Intensive yes, but as I already mentioned shortly to Erik on Friday your time management was very good! We really took our time to learn and facilitate but also to unwind outside or in restaurants and bars.
Moreover, I really appreciate the passion and precision in your training. I could really tell you were very committed to transmitting the skills to us and that is quite exceptional in my experience. Regarding expectations and experiences: as I said my original idea of LFA was not very positive and quite ‘heavy’ as a tool in my particular case. Looking back that was because we did not focus on problems in the first place so everything remained a bit detached from reality I suppose.
So thanks very much Erik and Frank!
Hope to see you soon, either in gastronomical Brussels or breezy Holland. Or fashionable Stockholm, who knows…? 🙂
Dear Erik and Frank,
I enjoyed the moderation course really. Besides the insides I got in to how to manage complex projects, I enjoyed really the facilitating process. This last I find so amazing. I did the facilitating sometimes with trembling knees….Certainly in the beginning. Leading a discussion in a foreign language. But I survived and I’m proud. The amazing thing for me, how I react or response on what happens in the group is immediately reflected in the group.
For me it’s a group process and to facilitate is about leading the group with a “non violence” approach. Amazing if you use one “wrong” word you get a complete different response.
But standing in front of a group causes that, specially in the beginning, Im not really relaxed and I experience difficulty to really listen what the group members are saying and unable to repeat the words. Most amazing was when Frank asked me to sit down on a chair, I immediately was back again and communication started. Also to experiment with my postures (kneeling) – and the feelings about that.
So the most interesting is how to “relax/loose” in front of a group and if I’m in trouble how to resource my self to find my self back instead to get in a survive mode. No fun for me and no fun to the group, and more important it influence the outcome of the process. The best thinking and learning happens for me in a “save” environment.
Very interesting to experiment with these feelings and to resource and experiment with “postures’
Thanks a lot!
So up to a new experience…..
I can only agree to what my fellow group members have been writing about the LFA Moderation course in March. Even though it was an intensive course with long hours I was not bored one second. Instead Frank and Erik gave me energy to keep my focus on my facilitation assignments, mixed with LFA theory. I could have kept on for another two days.
For me the course was only a positive experience with a lot of aha-moments, for example the absent solutions and how to turn them into real problems. To be able to practice the facilitation skills and getting feed back and comments as well as understanding the whole project cycle process was very educational. I do hope I will have the possibility to practice real soon (starting with my fellow colleagues).
Thank you for a wonderful experience and the way you took care of us,
Seems a lot of people had a really good time. Why am I not surprised? I believe that the participants were lucky to have two of the best and most experienced trainers in the field, who are able to make even a logical framework look exiting. I did it 16 years ago and am amazed that Erik and Frank have been able to keep up the enthusiasm and energy.
Praise your luck participants
I was interviewed by Dutch magazine re.Public on this course, see http://www.sdu.nl/doc/republic/republic27_2011/flash.html#/2/
page 11 (in dutch, obviously)
Feed-back on LFA moderation course:
The LFA moderation course demonstrated the interplay between the 3 aspects of communication: CONTENT-STRUCTURE-PROCESS. This helped me appreciate the role of the moderator as the guardian of the structure and how to let the stakeholders clarify their content and define their project. Trusting the structure and the power of moderation allowed me to disassociate myself from the content.
The course used the LFA definitions used by the EC which differ from the UN definitions with which I am very familiar. This was very useful. It would have lbeen good to have a little more time to discuss these differences -and how they ultimately serve the same objective of achieving a clear and shared understanding of the project.
The handling of what the project can do and not do (assumptions) was particularly effective.
The trainers were excellent and you will both remain my models.
And now to practice! Let me know if you are aware of an opportunity.
Thank you for a very constructive week.
Once again thanks to Eric and Frank but also my fellow participants.
I have learned a lot and feel inspired by the course.
Of course will I go through all the pictures and notes because when you do at least once a rehearsal you will remember a lot more. It is the way our memory works.
Stick to the method, rephrase positive, no absence solutions, ask the group by playing tennis, heels to the wall.
“What is the problem” has helped me already during a discussion with my daughter. After a few “what is the problems” she was able to tell me her point clearly.
Tips for the course:
1) Participants will appreciate a mail/letter with welcome, names and background of the participants and some logistical information in advance of the course.
Also the headline of the programme.
2) Make clear to the participants that the purpose of the training is to get used to the method and how to facilitate the workshop.(Learning the right questions to use in the right phase of the workshop)
Also that the case is not more than a tool to practice. Participants must be aware of this otherwise there is the danger that the case becomes too important.
The workshop may not develop into how to handle persons with strong opinions etc. Of course that is an important issue but not more important than the LFA method.
- The trainings facility was OK for the group size.
- The complementarities of Erik and Frank in know how and way of facilitating are very useful. The change is also good for the motivation.
- “We followed mostly a group built programme”. Flexibility I love it.
After the training I have much more confidence by understanding the LFA-method better. Yes I hope to practice more in the near future in real live. Training is helpful but not enough. As Frank wrote to us, now it begins![hr]
To finally share my experiences and evaluate the LFA moderator training, here I go: I have learnt the ESSENCE of an
appropriate application of the logical framework, which is , I think …
The discussions amongst the stakeholders are important for their understanding of the problem and working towards solutions, and more important than me as a facilitator getting the problems on the board. further important experiences
- I learnt to better deal with the steering of the discussion and became stronger in politely cutting off unnecessary or egocentric / hidden agenda talk by participants.
- I love Erik’s enthusiasm, but at times his loud voice reverberating in the small room was exhausting; I love Franks impact by just standing still in front of the ‘class’ and saying what needs to be said, in this beautiful English; beautiful, and an example to us- at least it did improve my English temporarily! Thanks!
- we had lovely food at lunchtime every day, but did need that, in order to manage working so hard until 20:30 most days.
- The good thing is that I could immediately apply this experience in my project in Zwolle about a sustainable water policy for the municipality.
Hi Erik, Shifting from a Consultant to a moderator/facilitator is the challenge the majority of us (consultants) has in front of us. This new trend should not be surprising since is the logical implementation of the principles of the Paris declarations (ownership of planning and management from beneficiary countries). I would like to make an example. I just came back from a training and capacity building session in Monrovia for government officials.
The subject was to develop local planning capacity for the 11 EDF. Thinking back to the course I delivered, I saw my role more as a someone capable to “extract” their needs, rather than the expert who explained to them what to do. However, in order to be a moderator you should also know the subject of the moderation. In short: 1) general speaking, today TA requires not only to be a consultant but also to be a facilitator, 2) while the majority of “us” experts are rather good in consultancy, facilitate and moderate requires additional cross-cutting skills (eg. active listening, pro-active attitude, affection, etc) Roberto Carpano[hr]
The point is to change the mental setting when one is in changed role from consultant to moderator/facilitator. Personally I used to control my own knowledge and affinity to my learning and let the participant do the thinking.
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