Note from Gary Rush, IAF Chair PDF Print E-mail

November 2010 - The FoCuSeD™ Facilitator eNewsletter


Note from Gary Rush, IAF Chair | Gary Rush Facilitation

Wow, it’s been fours years that I’ve served on the Board of the IAF. In 2007, I was nominated the Incoming Chair and in 2008, I became Chair. It’s been one heck of a ride and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with lots of great and interesting people. As my term ends on December 31, 2010, I want to share some of my thoughts with you.


Industry Changes


While the industry still has difficulty knowing how to position “Facilitator” in a position name in a Human Resources Catalog, it does recognize the value of facilitation skills. Instead of “Facilitator” being a separate position, it is being embraced as a necessary skill to be combined with any job skill in the industry. In the 1990’s, this would have bothered me because I was looking for organizations to hire “Facilitators”. Organizations found that keeping someone working full time strictly facilitating was not efficient because the staff would not contact the “Facilitator” to facilitate their meetings and workshops. But, organizations did come to recognize the value of facilitation skills and realized that the more practical method was for the staff to be trained in facilitation skills to enhance what they do.


The economy has been a big issue over the past 4 years and this has impacted many Facilitators. On the other hand, as companies regroup from the economic meltdown, they are using more Facilitators. Of course, they request lower billing rates than in the 90’s, but it keeps Facilitators busy. I’ve also seen an increase in demand for Certified Professional Facilitators (CPFs). The increased demand for CPFs is very gratifying.


IAF Changes


During the past 4 years, there has been quite a change within the IAF. We’ve organized and documented a policies and procedures manual. We’ve established guidelines for conferences to help maintain both our brand – IAF – as well as provide a consistent experience for attendees. We are becoming more consistent in “how” we work. Our face to the world is more consistent – and will get even better as our new website comes on-line.


Certification has grown considerably. We’ve successfully rolled out the re-certification process – re-certifying 198 CPFs. We have certified 761 Facilitators in 42 countries as of September 2010. We began developing a “Practitioner” certification program to respond to demand from those who are not full time Facilitators. When the “Practitioner” certification program rolls out next year, we will be able to tap into the growing use of facilitation skills combined with any job skill in the industry as I mentioned above.


One of our smartest accomplishments is the introduction of Chapters. This is very important because Chapters bring the IAF to the local level and engage Facilitators more often than an annual conference. I am pleased to say that the demand for Chapters is growing very quickly. Our first Chapter, the Southern New England Facilitators in Hartford was established in May, and by the end of this year, we will have at least 6 more Chapters with numerous others in process. Chapters are forming all over the world bringing with them increased membership and increased involvement.


For the Future of the Industry


For the industry, I’d like to see organizations continue to recognize the value of facilitation skills and continue training their staff to enhance what they do. I believe that facilitation skills are a necessary part of any job skill in the industry. I would like to see more proper training as opposed to the “I learned on the job” training that still occurs. This is a hit or miss method where mistakes are perpetuated and there is no consistency – it’s trial and error. It demeans the skills developed by those who, through proper training, spend a great deal of effort learning their skills. “I learned on the job” (unstructured) is very different from “on the job training” (structured). The former lacks any obvious principle of organizations where the latter is a purposeful approach.


For the Future of the IAF


For the IAF, we have a lot to do. I’d like to see:


  • We need to continue maturing the guidance and governance of the association. We need to continue to document and to formalize our procedures and bring more consistency to our work. Formalizing our board job descriptions and the introduction of the documented nominations process is a big start.
  • We need to continue to grow more Chapters. This is win-win. Chapters will ultimately replace the old affiliate concept with one that benefits both parties and truly grows the association. When my term as Chair is over, I will be working to develop the IAF Chicago Chapter. I welcome everyone in the Chicago area to join me in building a strong local presence.
  • We need to continue to develop our certification programs. The CPF is an outstanding program and will continue to grow. Promotion of this important program and developing assessors with additional language skills is important to bring this program to other parts of the world. In addition, introducing the “Practitioner” certification program will make the IAF more vital to those who are not full time Facilitators. We also have plans to develop specialized certifications such as ToP™ Facilitators, Graphic Facilitators, Helix Facilitators, and Training organizations. These certifications require a lot of work to introduce, but will greatly help increase the value of Facilitators, facilitation skills, and the IAF.
  • We need to continue to work to grow membership and relevance in developing regions, such as Africa, Asia, and South America. There is a growing demand for Facilitators in these regions. The CPF certification program and the coming “Practitioner” certification program are making important inroads into these regions. These are the most populace regions of the world and hold promise for the greatest growth of facilitation and the IAF.
  • We need to continue to make the IAF more prominent in Australia/New Zealand to give us a strong foothold in the region. Membership is growing, and there are a lot of Facilitators in the region who can make the IAF the association of choice.


For all of this work to happen, we need increased involvement from our membership. Sixteen board members cannot do it alone. Board members work a lot of hours and, along with your involvement, they can accomplish much more. Please participate in electing new board members for 2011 – we need your involvement.


Note from the "IAF Chair"

Thank you

I want to thank the board members who I’ve worked with over the past 4 years. I appreciate your support, your loyalty, and everything each one of you has done to make the IAF the association of choice – you are some of the finest people I’ve worked with. For some of you, this is also your last term and to you, I say, “Please keep in touch.” I also want to thank the entire membership for the support you’ve given the association and to me.

My involvement with the IAF doesn’t end here – I’ll continue to be an IAF CPF Assessor and will work to develop the IAF Chicago Chapter to build a strong local presence. I look forward to many more years of involvement with the IAF. logo


Gary Rush, IAF CPF
IAF Chair