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Training - Facilitation


Ah... what's in a name? That which we call facilitation by any other name could train as sweet!

OK, I apologize for mangling Shakespeare, but there is too much discussion in my field around training versus teaching versus facilitation. Which one is better than the other? Most corporate trainers will say, "You have to be a facilitator, not a trainer." Certainly there are times when corporate trainers are asked to deliver content with which they are not subject matter experts (SMEs) which requires them to take the role of facilitator to ensure a positive learning experience. But there is a role for all three approaches. After all, how many "Facilitation & Development" departments are there! And there are times when a teaching style is needed to deliver content as well (ask any professor if they would like to be called a facilitator instead).

What it comes down to is moving away from a "sage on the stage" approach to learning toward a "student-centric" approach. There are few training courses that could not be improved with less lecture and more well-facilitated activities. To effectively deliver subject matter to adults in a corporate setting, you need to be able to flex between teaching, training, and facilitating. That is what makes up what is often referred to as "platform skills."

Platform Skills

I can say with confidence that I have excellent platform skills. I think it is my experience as a professional jazz musician that gives me the ability to flex between different approaches and translate these thoughts to words in front of any size group. After all, performing improvisational music is the expression of thoughts and ideas using notes, so the correlation is certainly there. In many cases, the training I deliver—as well as the animation, graphics, and web development I create—is a natural extension of my musical creativity I started out using.