Your participants, that is; if you are a facilitator. But before you get all excited, I have to disappoint you. It’s not what you think. They will try to seduce you into doing their work for them. What work? And how do they do it?
If you are like me (and like most facilitators), you love feeling clever and in charge and like you have something great to contribute, like you can solve people’s problems. And this vanity is what makes it easy to seduce us. A participant just has to come to you with a complicated problem and say: “I don’t know what to do! What shall I do?” “Oh, well,” you think, “from my vast experience I know exactly what she should do.” And your solution may well be more thought through, realistic, clever etc. than what your participant will ever come up with. But stop. Don’t do it. Don’t do their work for them. Because telling someone what they should do comes with a number of pitfalls:
- It’s your solution, not theirs, so it may only work if you actually were in their shoes, because you have different personalities, experience, networks, status etc.
- They get the solution far to easily, without actually struggling and working on their problem. This will not prepare them for the pain of implementing this solution.
- Whether it works or it does’t, they don’t own it. They can blame you if it does not work out, but they will also only feel halve the joy, if it works.
So, watch yourself, don’t be seduced, give the work back to them. And then give them the space and the tools they need to get this work done. Facilitate.