Facilitating VS. Training: what’s the big difference?
Lately, it’s come to our attention people don’t really know the difference. This is concerning, but perhaps understandable. Many cultures use these words interchangeably while in fact, they are quite different.
There is a big difference between the two approaches and every LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methods facilitator should know what it is.
Training: The ability to impart knowledge and build capacity in those we teach.
Facilitating: The ability to support people as they think and solve their own problems as we facilitate.
* Trainers transfer new knowledge.
* Facilitators mine for wisdom.
When a facilitator gives expert advice, provides how-to knowledge, or tells people what to do, they are no longer facilitating. If people expect you to facilitate and you then start training or consulting, they may feel manipulated and lose trust in you. This trust might never come back.
As LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methods facilitators, we too must eat our own cooking (to use a food metaphor). We must follow our own ground rules, which include being humble and knowing the wisdom in the room is greater than our own; we are not and should not be subject matter experts. In fact, if you are facilitating in an area where you know too much, you may be prone to asking leading questions. And that's not good!
If a participant asks us for advice, we must turn the question back to them or the group:
- That’s a great question, what do others think?
- Interesting question, can I ask why you asked this?
- Let’s capture that question and return to it at the end of the session. (At the end of the session, ask if anyone can answer it.)
If a participant asks a question on how they might facilitate LSP, remind them they are not participating to learn the method. They are participating to learn about themselves and their work. Otherwise, trying to learn LSP in a facilitated session is a great way to avoid real work.
If someone says something like, “Our house is full of LEGO®, I’m going to get some and do this at work tomorrow,” do not bother arguing with them. Just respond by saying something like, “That sounds like fun.”
We all know the only way you can appropriately facilitate with LSP is if you take the actual certification training. Those who are not interested in investing in the training are not going to do this seriously. And if they try to sell workshops, well… buyer beware.
And don’t fall for thinking you can share a few ideas with participants, friends, or coworkers. You will give them just enough knowledge to be dangerous. Think about how you would feel after investing your time and treasure into getting certified, and then you show up for a sales meeting and the client says,
“We did this LEGO thing before. Janet brought her kids' bricks to the office. It was fun but pointless.” Ouch!
Think of it like baking a wedding cake.
Sure it looks easy and someone can buy all the ingredients from the grocery store, but if they don’t know the exact recipe it’s not going to be a very good cake.
Imagine your wedding with an amateur baker guessing at the method.
No one wants to spoil a wedding!
Remember, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® only works if you follow the underpinnings, use skill-building appropriate, and understand how to frame questions with the right formula. We have been training in the methodology now since 2007 – we work with professional curriculum designers, we are the longest running LEGO SERIOUS PLAY® Methods training company in the Americas, the most qualified, (our founder was originally trained by the LEGO® Company and given the title 'Master Trainer'), and now we have been named “BEST IN CLASS” with Procter and Gamble and for a very good reason.
At Strategic Play Group Ltd., we know what we are doing, clients trust us, and we get great results.
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methods are a powerful tool and our facilitators know how to facilitate in 3D!
If you or someone you know wants to learn how to facilitate (and become trained and certified), send us a line - we would love to hear from you: