|10-11 Note from the IAF Chair|
November 2010 - The FoCuSeD™ Facilitator eNewsletter
by Gary Rush, IAF CPF
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.
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.
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:
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.