The Future of Facilitation, the IAF, and the Industry PDF Print E-mail

January 2008 - The FoCuSeD™ Facilitator eNewsletter


The Future of Facilitation, the IAF, and the Industry | Gary Rush Facilitation

Entering the New Year is a good time to reflect on where we are and to think about where we are going.


A New Beginning


2007 was a new beginning for me. I developed FoCuSeD™ and expanded my views on facilitation and collaboration through my research into group processes. I worked on refining the IAF CPF Program, and I became the IAF Chair-Elect to take my role as Chair in 2008.


Where are we?


In my e-newsletter "The State of the Facilitation Profession", I described our profession as being at a crossroads. We are in our adolescent years because we are growing and haven’t yet found our way as an adult profession. We still have to define ourselves; we are still working out what “professional” really means to our profession; and we still have clients who don’t know what we do.


The trends I see…


The value of Collaboration and Facilitative Skills is being recognized. Significant writings support this:


  • “The report also presents a range of practical tools and methodologies that fall under the broad umbrella of “participatory dialogue”, serving purposes ranging from increasing mutual understanding through facilitating to create collective visions of the future to joint decision-making and collaborative action, as well as building skills and capacities.” – June 2007 United Nations report entitled, “Participatory Dialogue: Towards a Stable, Safe, and Just Society for All”.


This recognition demands that we be proactive in defining our destiny as a profession and not be reactive to the whims and forces of others.


The IAF plays a role…

Rounded Rectangle


The IAF is the Professional Association for Facilitators. To sustain its position, the IAF needs to continue growing and continue molding the profession. The IAF must:


  • Promote the value of the profession of Facilitation and provide encouragement for new and future members. This is the key role of the IAF – its main purpose. A professional association not only provides a network for professionals but also enables its members to educate potential clients about our work and the value we bring to them.
  • Become financially strong. Just as any company must spend money marketing and providing products and services, so must the IAF. We cannot exist and thrive without the financial means to continue.
  • Set the Facilitation standard in the eyes of the world. As the professional association, the IAF sets the standards via the CPF and other programs in defining what is a “Facilitator” and what it takes to be a professional Facilitator.


As the IAF Chair, beginning in April, I’ll work to…


Move the IAF into adulthood and define itself through the organizational changes it is undertaking – while balancing the past, present, and future as well as taking steps to make it financially strong. We need to grow the CPF and related programs, including training accreditation, re-certification, and a definition of “Facilitator”. To enable this growth and succeed, we require active and considered involvement by the IAF Board as well as IAF members.


As Facilitators, we must…


  • Join the IAF and become certified.
  • Promote our profession to our clients. Educate them on the value we bring.
  • Use our skills in everything we do – show that facilitative skills enable much more than facilitation.


As Clients, we must…


  • Hire IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitators.




Facilitation is growing. We are no longer a hierarchical society and to survive, we need to collaborate. Facilitators are the instruments of collaboration. As a profession, we need to effectively spearhead that growth by:


  • Training Effective Facilitators.
  • Recognizing and communicating the value of Facilitators.
  • Promoting the Profession.


Now is the future of Facilitation! logo